Banh Xeo, or Vietnamese Sizzling Savory Pancakes, are crepe-like rice flour cakes with tasty fillings of shrimps and ground pork. The name literally translates “sizzling cakes” as described when the batter pours into the lava-hot pan and the sweltering heat turns it into bubbles.
Dipped in spicy and tangy fish sauce, it is perfect when served hot and with a variety of mixed greens. Lunch, dinner, or whenever you get the urge – it is always the right answer!
What exactly is this savory pancakes?
The concept of Banh Xeo is similar to omelets, pancakes, and tacos but it differentiates from the others for its immersed, holistic flavors. The Vietnamese pancakes has no eggs, the batter consists of rice flour and turmeric powder to give it that yellow color. The pancakes are fully loaded with ingredients like shrimps, belly, mung bean, mushrooms, bean sprouts and onions.
For years, I dreaded making banh xeo because of its demanding process. Who has time to make all that fillings and wait a few hours for the batter to be ready? So, a simplified version is born.
This recipe is perfect for the weekend when you have a little more time to hang in the kitchen. You can even mix the flour the night before and make these pancakes for lunch the next day. Restaurant quality, but from the comfort of your home.
How do you eat Vietnamese pancakes?
There are two ways to eat banh xeo in my household.
Method 1: Eat it like a Pro! Tear it into smaller portions and wrap them as lettuce wrap. Banh xeo is eaten by rolling it over mustard greens, mints, herbs, or lettuce then dip with the famous dipping sauce.
Method 2: For lazy people like my brothers: Pile all the herbs up and eat it with a chopstick.
But I would recommend you try #1 method, it’s so much better.
In this simple recipe, I’m using ground pork instead of pork belly and skipped the mung bean. This version is simpler and faster. But to ensure it still yields a crispy batter, baking powder is added. I didn’t use beer in the batter but if you’d like, you can substitute half beer for half water, the batter will get even more delicious.
Letting the batter rest for a few minutes is a critical step. You can use this time to prepare other ingredients. This step is called “washing old flour”. This will give it texture while the baking powder does its job. Also, high heat is a must when making banh xeo, it will ensure the cakes are crispy and crunchy.
These savory pancakes are absolutely heaven.
I hope you’ll love this recipe because it’s ridiculously delicious, tasty and absolutely perfect for family gathering.
Let’s dig in. Shall we?
Sizzling Savory Crepe (Banh Xeo)
Vietnamese savory crepes with savory fillings like ground pork, shrimp, onions and mushroom. Serve over a variety of mixed greens. Perfect for family gathering.
For the batter
- 1 cup rice flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons green onion (chopped)
- vegetable oil for frying (about 1/3 cup)
For the filling
- 1/2 lb shrimp (peeled, deveined, sliced half lengthwise)
- 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 cup beansprouts
- 1 cup mushroom (sliced)
- 1 cup ground pork
- 1 cup dipping sauce
- mixed greens such as: lettuce, mustard green, herbs.
Prepare the batter: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and 3 cups water. Whisk the mixture until free of lumps. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, carefully pour out about 1 1/2 cup of water and discard. Add in cornstarch, baking powder, coconut milk, salt, turmeric powder, and green onions. Stir well and let it sit for another 10 minutes.
Filling: prepare other ingredients while waiting for the batter to rest.
For the ground pork: Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add in 2 teaspoon oil and stir fry the ground pork until no longer pink. Use a spatula to break up the meat into pieces. Set aside for later use.
In a 6-inch skillet over medium high heat, add 2 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Add in sliced onion, mushroom, 3 pieces of shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into the hot skillet. Quickly swirl the batter to distribute into an even layer. Toss in 1 tablespoon of ground pork and some beansprouts on top. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the lid, shake any exess water. Check under the crepe to make sure it's golden brown. Use a spatula to fold the crepe in half and cook for an additional minute until crepe is crispy on the edges. Transfer to a plate.
Continue until all ingredients are used.