Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Rice Crepes)

 

clip_image002I recently had an opportunity to travel through SouthEast Asia. As with most of my life, food punctuated the best moments of the trip, and this recipe was certainly a highlight of the journey. The name of this dish “Xeo” comes from the sizzling sound that the batter makes as it hits the hot pan. Often in larger cities, they are made frying pan sized and torn apart to be eaten. In the village that my mother grew up in they’re made the size of street tacos and are served 2-3 per person. This is the way that I prefer to eat them because the balance of ingredients is better. In my mother’s village of Phu Hai, fhesh rice flour can be bought at the daily markets, but in this recipe, the Vitamix is an essential tool to make everything from the rice flour, to the dipping sauce, to the coconut milk. Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Recipe after the jump!

 

Video

For the batter:

225g Jasmine Rice

271g Water

500g Water

50g Corn Starch

50g Tapioca Starch

1 Young Coconut (Water+Flesh ~456g)

4g Salt

3g Tumeric Powder

Combine the dry rice with 271g water and soak in a covered container overnight. Place the soaked rice, including the soaking liquid in the Vitamix Blender Jar. Add the additional 1000g water. Blend on high until completely smooth. You should not be able to hear rice particles hit the blades or size of the jar. This will take about two minutes.

clip_image004Place the blended rice and liquid into tall narrow containers with covers (I use quart containers) to allow the solids to settle. (A few hours)

Drain off the watery liquid from the blended rice, and reserve rice water.

In a large bowl, place 650g rice puree (the sediment from the blended rice and water), 50g corn starch, 50g tapioca starch, 4g salt, and 3g tumeric.

In a clean Vitamix blender jar, add the water and scraped flesh from both young coconuts. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Strain through a coarse strainer to remove any coconut husk fibers that may have made their way in.

Add 250g Coconut puree and 125g reserved rice water to the rice puree mixture. Whisk together to combine. Allow the batter to sit for at least an hour to completely hydrate before cooking.

Dipping Sauce: (Makes extra)

5-10 Thai Bird Chiles, Stemmed

4 Cloves Garlic

1 Tblspoon Sugar

3 Limes, Juice only

2 Tblspoon Fish Sauce

2 tsp Salt

2 tsp Tamarind Paste

3/4 Cup Peanuts, toasted

1 1/2 Cup Warm Water

 

Place everything except the toasted peanuts in the Vitamix Blender Jar. Blend for about 60 seconds until the sauce is light with small particles of chile and garlic throughout.

Add the peanuts and blend again 30-45 seconds until the peanuts are pulverized throughout the sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

Fillings:

4oz Pork Belly, Cut into small pieces

4oz small shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 Bunch Cilantro leaves

1 Bunch Thai Basil Leaves

1 Head green lettuce, leaves torn and rinced

~15 shiso leaves

1 Cup Bean Sprouts

1 Bunch Green Onion, Julianne

Mix bean sprouts and green onion.

1″ Piece of Pork Fat Back (to grease the pan)

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

clip_image007To Cook/Assemble

The BEST way to cook these crepes is in a terra cotta Banh Xeo cooker — I got mine for about $2USD in Ho Chi Minh City… However I’ve never seen them in the US. The next best tool in your kitchen for this is a large, non-stick griddle like you would use for pancakes. The one I use cost about $30 from Target. Lastly, you can make these individualy in a frying pan but you may want to make them larger if you’re doing that — or get multiple pans running.

clip_image009Preheat your cooking device over medium high heat (350F on the electric griddle). Add about 2 tsp of vegetable oil per crepe. Swirl the oil around with the pork fatback. Place 2-3 small pieces of pork and 1-2 shrimp on the griddle per crepe (assume about a 3″ diameter crepe and allow enough space between for the batter to run). Cover each mound of pork and shrimp with a scant 1oz ladle of the batter. If necessary, spread the batter out to about a 3″ diameter circle. Top each crepe with a small handful of the bean sprouts and green onion. Cover the pan, if using a griddle, use an inverted sheet pan. Cook covered for about 2 minutes. Remove cover check to see if the tops of the crepes look cooked (no uncooked batter visible). If there is no uncooked batter visible, remove cover and continue to cook uncovered for about 2-3 minutes.

Remove each crepe carefully with an offset spatula and gently fold in half.

Serve the folded crepes in lettuce and/or shiso leaf. Top with herbs. These are eaten like a taco and dipped into the peanut/chile sauce.

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Enjoy!

Also, shout out to Gregory Wright who tested this recipe for me. We had a good IM exchange via facebook with cooking tip to clarify the cook on these crepes which is critical. Read the first comment below and let me know ho yours come out in the comments!

One Response to “Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Rice Crepes)”

  1. Me: Recipe coming your way.

    GW: Awesome! Hopefully I can replicate without the cooking stone!

    Me:comes out pretty good on a non-stick elecric griddle

    GW: How bout a nonstick on the induction burner?
    OR stove?

    Me: I tried induction and the cycling on/off was kinda wonky — feel free to try it, it can work.
    stove works ok, not as good as griddle, do you have one?
    it’s the best $30 i’ve ever spent at target. I call it a poor man’s plancha

    GW: I did have an old one.
    Interesting.

    Me: did you get it? (The Recipe)

    GW: Yes, reading it now to se if I have any questions.
    Looks great. Got everything but the coconut, so I’ll grab that tomorrow. What else can you do with the rice paste?

    Me: you could make steamed rice crepes (Banh Cuon) but that’s pretty difficult
    have you seen Gordon Ramsay’s Great escape Vietnam?

    Me: No, does he show them?

    GW: yes. you should watch immediately. it’s on itunes…
    that’s the closest to “the real gordon” i’ve seen him on a tv show

    Oh really? Interesting.
    How heavy is the cooker you brought back?

    Me: not that heavy

    GW: It looked heavy, is it just the top, or a bottom as well? Or is it small? Pic made it look like a foot and a half across.

    Me: i only brought the top back
    bottom was purchased in houston’s china town
    top is about 16″ across but light terra cotta. think the bottom of a flower pot

    GW: the plates are part of it?

    Me: removable

    GW: do they sit in a hole or indent?

    Me: yes chamfered holes
    Thinking of making one?

    GW: Cool. 2 bucks. Amazing! This is a really good vita-mix recipe, because it really shows what it can really do for you.

    Batter is made, sitting to hydrate now. Current observations…
    This makes an huge amount of batter. Most people might prefer a half batch.
    I was concerned about ther atio of coconut flesh to water…what I ended up with was less of a puree and more of a slurry or thick milkshake consistancy.
    The rice mixture made ALMOST 1300 grams of the rice puree, but not quite,
    I saw you mention that you thought your batch might have too much liquid, so I only used half of the rice water to see how that is, coz I can always add more.
    The instructions on the rice water could be clearer, as I wasn’t sure if I was to keep it or dump it, so I kept it and then realized later it was needed.
    Will test cook a couple w/o goodies, coz I don’t have all the goodies yet!
    Batter looks pretty much like crepe batter to me at the moment so feeling pretty good.

    Me: Was thinking 1/2 recipe would be good [RECIPE ABOVE IS 1/2 THE ORIGINAL RECIPE]… it’s by weight so it should scale down perfectly.
    coconut should be milkshake like – think canned coconut milk but better. ratio of water to solids should be **perfect** in each coconut… funny how nature works;)
    hydration was fine after an hour rest (a couple hours would be better)
    if it looks like crepe batter you’re in the right zone.
    keep in mind you’re not making french style crepes, browning is good. veg oil is your friend. the side touching the pan should be golden brown and fairly crunchy
    excited that you’re trying it! thanks!

    Excited to try it as well, sounds so good. Looks like I’m on the right path so far. Will this keep for a while? Can I freeze some batter?

    Me: Try it?

    GW: Might as well, there will def be extra!

    Cooked a few test crepes with noth in em. First ones came out really oily and rubbery, second couple I used some lard instead of oil. those came out better, crispry on the edge, but not CRISPY, doing them in a no stick pan on medium heat.
    What SHOULD I be looking for?
    And they come out about 1/8 inch thick.

    Me: 1/8″ sounds right. higher heat. batter should sizzle when it hits. that’s where the name “xeo” comes from… vietnamese onomonopia

    GW: First one that come out edible…

    Me: more color, more heat

    GW: several later, more heat and making sure it SIZZLE when it hits the panm HUGE difference.

    Me: longer cook time
    that one looks good. could even be browner

    GW: I figured that too.
    Yes, I’m getting closer.

    Me: yes you are!

    GW: I think getting the COOK on these properly is the real important thing.
    The difference in taste was huge.
    I’m goin to get some of my veggies and try it with stuff in it, which is more important.
    Also, I found less oil. but hotter, coz more oil made incredibly greasy ones for some reason.

    Me: how much oil are you using for the good ones?

    GW: Very interesting textur, cripsy outside, chewy…I hate to say rubberry, but
    What ever was left in the pan after making one that used 2 tsp of oil.
    But, my oil just may not have been hot enough.
    They do not cook like a crepe.

    Me: half way between pancake/crepe

    With no flipping…

    GW: correct – no flipping
    Me: did you cover for 2 minutes?

    GW: Yep.
    I probably made about 11 before I got one close to what seems right.

    Me: That last one looks pretty good.

    GW: I’ll send a pic of the one I do for real with stuff in it. I think I got it now.

    Me: awesome!
    BTW- texture of the non crispy side should be more like thick-ish pasta/ dumpling. If its truly rubbery you might need more water

    GW: Yes, that is the texture I got!
    On the last good one!

    Me: Nice I think you’re there!

    GW: Pretty damn close. Couldn’t find Thai Basil or Shiso. Used mint and reg basil. No shrimp coz we have a potential allergy here, but doubled up on pork belly. Tasted great with the dipping sauce!
    Will use more filling next go around, would like more coconut in the crepe.
    Seems silly I had so much trouble making the first crepes, these were fine.

    Me: YES! Those look awesome!

    GW: Good. I would definitely add more specific cooking instructions. I;m gonna use the rest of teh coconut sludge for some pancakes.
    Everyone enjoyed them.

    Me: Nice

    GW: Sauce is really great.

    I would say I had success in the non stick pan at med high heat, and much less oil.

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