Bánh xèo: Vietnamese fried pancakes

If you have been following the travel section of this blog recently, you’ll know that Mr. Chuckles and I spent the last month obsessing over the amazing food of Vietnam.

While we were in Hoi An, we attended a cooking class with Coconut Fragrance Restaurant and learned how to prepare several traditional Vietnamese dishes. One of our favourites was bánh xèo. Literally translating to “sizzling pancake”, bánh xèo is a savoury pancake made of rice flour and turmeric (hence its yellow colour), named for the sound the batter makes when it is poured into a hot skillet. There are a few variations, but the one we made included shrimp and pork. Here is the recipe we learned from our cooking class.

Recipe

Servings: 12-15 pancakes | Prep time: 20 minutes | Ready time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Pancakes
  • 100 g shrimp, peeled
  • 100 g pork filet
  • 150 g rice flour
  • 25 g spring onions, finely chopped
  • 25 g bean sprouts
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut cream
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs and green salad (see notes below)
  • Rice paper wrappers for serving
Dipping sauce
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • Hot chilli to taste

Steps

1) Finely chop shrimp and pork. Add together with minced shallot, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2) Mix rice flour and turmeric powder together. Add water slowly to make a thin batter.

3) Add coconut cream and spring onion leaves. Mix batter and set in fridge.

4) Heat a medium sized frying pan, add vegetable oil and brush the pan. Add shrimp and pork, and cook for 2 minutes.

5) Ensure that the pan is hot and add pancake batter. Use about one ladle of batter per pancake. Each pancake should be thin, similar to a crepe. Add bean sprouts and cover pan.

6) Remove pancake once browned and crispy. Fold over, cut in half or smaller, and serve with herbs and green salad, wrapped in rice paper. Mix ingredients listed above for dipping sauce.

👨‍🍳 Notes from Mr. Chuckles

We tried this out last week and it actually turned out really well. The recipe our instructor sent us called for about double the proportion of ingredients; with our half portions, we still ended up with plenty of batter. We didn’t even come close to using it up so I would estimate that you can get a minimum of 12 medium sized pancakes out of this.

One of the most challenging parts of recreating this recipe is sourcing the ingredients. We were able to find most of what we needed at our local Asian grocer, T&T Supermarket.

For the dipping sauce, we used Vietnamese fish sauce from the brand Three Crabs.

For the herbs and green salad, we included mint leaves, basil, lettuce, cilantro, and cucumber. We certainly miss all the unique fresh herbs that we had in Vietnam, but this will have to do for now until we go back there one day!

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