This delicious banh xeo recipe is a play on a recipe I learned in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh), Vietnam.
While traveling around Vietnam I tried some amazing banh xeo recipes. This is just like one of my favourite versions I learned.
If making this banh xeo recipe for the first time, I recommend using a non-stick pan but they are even better cooked in a really hot cast iron pan.
That is how I cooked them in Saigon over a roaring hot charcoal fire. I loved doing this so much I purchased one of the barbecues shown in the video on this page.
What are banh xeo?
Crispy fried pancakes!
Many people falsely assume because of Vietnam’s French colonial history that banh xeo were inspired by French crepes. Not so.
Banh xeo were much more likely a play on Indian dosas as many Indian traders traveled to Vietnam long before the French arrived.
The ingredients are very similar but banh xeo are much easier to whip up on a whim because the batter doesn’t need to ferment like dosa batter.
They are also much easier to flip as a lot more oil is used to cook banh xeo.
What is the best way to eat banh xeo?
That’s up to you. They are perfectly good simply served on their own with a hot sauce.
Often they are served wrapped in lettuce leaves with a few herbs like basil and mint but my favourite way to serve them is wrapped in rice paper with lots of green herbs and lettuce.
Really… food doesn’t get much better!
Want to try a couple other well known Vietnamese recipes? Here you go…
- FOR THE NU’Ó’C CHAM
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 red bird’s eye chillies, cut into thin rings (more or less to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- FOR THE RICE PANCAKES
- 370g (2 cups) rice flour
- 3 tbsp corn flour(cornstarch)
- 1 level tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 400ml (1 ½ cups) light coconut milk or water
- 170ml (3/4 cup) beer or sparkling water
- 4 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
- 20tbsp (1 ¼ cup) rapeseed (canola) oil (approx.)
- 450g (16oz) streaky bacon, cut into 5cm (2 inch) pieces
- 450g (16oz) prawns, peeled and deveined
- 300g (3 cups) bean sprouts
- to serve:
- Cos (romaine) lettuce
- Mint leaves
- Coriander (cilantro) leaves
- Basil leaves
- If you are making the dipping sauce, I suggest doing that first. Whisk all of the ingredients together and set aside. This can be stored in the fridge and used as required.
- Now make the batter for the pancakes. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together up to and including the spring onions (scallions). The beer or sparkling water is added as the carbonation helps make the pancakes super crispy. I prefer beer but my wife prefers the lighter flavour of the spring water. You will have to decide that one for yourself.
- When you have a creamy, smooth batter, divide the bacon, prawns and bean spouts so that you have 8 equal portions. Heat up your frying pan over medium high heat. I recommend using a non-stick pan for these as it is a lot easier. When hot, stir in about 2 tbsp of oil. Then add a portion of the bacon and prawns, spreading these out equally in the pan and fry until cooked through, turning once.
- Now add about a ladle or a bit more of the batter. Move the pan around while you do this and try to get the pancake looking like a thin pancake or crepe should. Nice and thin.
- Reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook for a further couple of minutes or until the bottom begins to brown. Top the pancake with some of the bean sprouts and cover the pan to continue cooking for another minute or so. The pancake should lift off the pan easily when it is cooked through so don’t rush this.
- When cooked through and crispy, fold the pancake in half and serve immediately. This isn’t one to bring to the table all at one time unless you have a lot of pans. Just serve them as and when they are ready with the dipping sauce, lettuce and herbs.
- Even more delicious is to wrap damp rice paper around the lettuce, herbs and bahn xeo!
I hope you enjoy this banh xeo recipe. If you do give it a try, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.