vegetarian Bánh xèo


The picture above was taken in Hanoi, Vietnam last summer where the temperatures were 100+ and the food was incredible.

This is fun recipe to try out, particularly if you have had enough cheese grits, biscuts, and southern American homestyle cooking to last you for awhile.  I found this recipe in this month’s issue of Saveur magazine, but it includes pork and seafood, so I adapted it as my own vegetarian (vegan, in fact) version.  Enjoy!  You should stop by Viet Hoa (We profiled it in our Cool Grocery Store Alert Feature) to get some of the more unusual ingredients first.

Bánh xèo (literally “sizzling cake”) are Vietnamese crepe-type pancakes filled with meat and vegetables.  Traditionally, they are served wrapped in lettuce leaves, and stuffed with mint leaves or other herbs, and dipped in a prepared nước mắm called nuoc cham (Vietnamese fish sauce thinned with water and lemon).




For the batter:

-2 cups rice flour (purchase at Vietnamese grocery store or health food store- I used brown rice flour)

-1 and 1/4 tbsp. cornstarch

-1 and 1/2 tsp. salt

-1/3 cup coconut milk

-1 scallion, thinly sliced

For the filling:

-1/4 cup dried, yellow split mung beans, soaked in water for 2 hrs. (I found mung beans at the Valu Market on 3rd St. in the Iroquois Manor shopping center.)

-1 tbsp. canola oil + a whole bunch more for frying

-1/2 pkg. extra firm tofu )or 10 oz. peeled rock shrimp

-1 pkg. dried seasoned tofu, sliced thinly- I got mine from Viet Hoa food market or 8 oz. ground pork

-1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

-salt, to taste

-4 cups bean sprouts


-1 head of butter lettuce

-10 sprigs of fresh mint, cilantro, and thai basil

-lime slices


1. Make the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, cornstarch, and salt.  Make a well in the center, pour in the coconut milk and 2 cups of water, and whisk until the batter is smooth.  Whisk in the chopped scallions; set aside and let rest 1 hour.

2. Make the filling: Drain the mung beans.  Bring 1″ water to a boil in a pot.  Add beans and cover.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Transfer mung beans to a plate and set aside to cool.

3. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a big skillet.  Add tofus (or meat) in, along with chopped onion.  Stir occasionally until tofus are cooked and onions are golden brown.  Season with salt and set aside.

4. Working in batches, heat 2 tbsp. oil in large skillet over high heat.  Pour 1/2 cup of batter onto skillet, swirling to cover the bottom.  Cook until partially set, about 45 seconds.  Sprikle 2 tbsp. mung beans over crepe; then add one-sixth of the tofu mixture and 2/3 cup of bean sprouts.  Lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the bean sprouts have wilted slightly, about 3 minutes.  Uncover and drizzle 1 an 1/2 tsp. oil around the rim of the skillet.  Cook, uncovered, until the edge of crepes are crisp and pulls away from the skillet.  They should look golden brown.  Fold crepe in hald with spatula and transfer to plate.

5. To serve, garnish a large platter with lettuce leaves and stack pass the crepes on top.  Serve with the herb garnishes, lime, and dipping sauce (either buy fish sauce at Viet Hoa or other Vietnamese Grocery store and mix with 1 part water and 1 part lemon juice– or you can make a vegetarian version by mixing 3 parts lime juice with 1 part soy sauce, 1 part sweet chili sauce (buy from Viet Hoa) and 1 tsp. brown sugar.  






1 Response to “vegetarian Bánh xèo”

  1. 1 Marco Polo
    May 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    From Louisville to Vietnam. Nice scope on this blog. Food looks so good.

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