Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Celebrating With Banh Xeo (Recipe)

By Leluu
We had one of the most spectacular thing happen to us last week and we are so gutted we can’t say what it is just yet. We had a very special guest at the house and we actually opened the supper club especially for this person, some of our dear friends and my mother’s friends on a one off, very secret event.

It was one of those days where we will remember for the rest of our lives, it was totally unexpected and it was just what dreams are made of. My mum is ever so proud and she is still smiling to this day with all her friends, showing off … : )
Anyway, the next day, she invited her friends around my house to finish off the left overs and they had a right giggle – a celebration where they all even drank wine (Vietnamese women do not usually drink any alcohol) and held a toast to Simon and I. It was really lovely.
Banh Xeo (pronounce Banh C-eo)– ‘banh' means cake or crepe and ‘xeo’ means sizzling.

Banh Xeo is a Vietnamese crepe with pork and prawns with beansprouts, eaten with plenty of salad leaves as a wrap with all sorts of herbs such as coriander, fish mint, sweet basil and so on. You dip it in a lovely sweet, chilli fish sauce dip and celebrate!

For 15 - 20 x 20cm pancakes

400g Rice Flour - (you can buy Banh Xeo mixture in a packet - its 400g of rice flour and 10g Tamarind)
10g Turmeric Powder
1 Large can Coconut Milk (check label - should have over 80% coconut milk)
1 can of Coconut Juice
Bottle of Beer
Spring Onions
2 tsp Pork Flavouring Granules
A pinch of sugar
A pinch of salt

King/ Tiger Prawns
Pork – (marinade is optional - red wine, pepper, fish sauce, sugar, garlic )

Sweet Basil

Dipping Sauce:

3 Crabs Fish Sauce
Chilli, Garlic – blend together or chop very finely
Cider Vinegar
Hot Water


Marinade the pork slices in some red wine, fish sauce, garlic, pepper and sugar and after about half an hour – fry it off in a pan. Leave to the side.

Peel the prawns and perhaps slice it up if you are on a budget so that there are little chunks of of prawns all over. If you are cooking for many people, it’s a good idea to pre fry the prawns just til they are about done and leave to the side

Mix all the batter ingredients together – the batter should be very runny and light then add the spring onions once its all combined.

Its ready.
Sometimes its good to leave for a few hours to let the beer sink into the ingredients – apparently, my mum, whose made Banh Xeo since she was 8 years old says to even leave it over night and the crepe will be even crispier and lighter.

Once you are ready and have all your ingredients ready by the stove.

Heat your good non stick pan til you can feel it warm/ hot as you wave your hand over it. Then turn your hob down a notch so that you don't over heat and burn everything.

Pour in half a ladle of batter
Add the prawns
Add the pork
Add the beansprouts

Put a lid over it – this will cook the filling -

After about a minute or two you can check that the batter has crisped up and browned at the bottom – (if you haven't precooked the prawns then watch that its all pink and opaque - then its done). At this point you can turn the pancake over and its ready to serve.

Serve with plenty of salad leaves, herbs and a bowl of dipping sauce for every person.
If you are clever like my mum, you can do them 4 at once on the stove – practice makes perfect! We would love to one day do these at the supper club but there is an issue of them being cooked there and then and many mouths to feed so we hesitate because you’d have to wait a while for them.

Perfect for dinner parties of 6-8

When you finish one, someone goes and makes another (usually the host – he he) – its great if you had one of those portable stoves on the table and people can do them as you go.


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