Bánh Xèo – Savoury Vietnamese Crêpes

Simple to make, and with a with a wide variety of fillings, bánh xèo is a quick, easy and incredibly tasty Vietnamese meal to enjoy at any time of day. These savoury Vietnamese  crêpes are perfect for sharing as a family or with friends, where everyone can choose their favourite flavours and fillings. And they make a delicious breakfast to start the day.


Bánh Xèo – Savoury Vietnamese Crêpes

Time
10 mins prep
12-15 mins cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
6 servings
Serve with
Sweet chili or fish sauce

A Perfect Vietnamese Breakfast

I was aboard a ship in Halong Bay in Northern Vietnam when, along with realising that cooking wasn’t impossible, I discovered the delights of bánh xèo (literally, “sizzling pancake”). I would watch the chef craft these magnificent breakfast treats, seeing the raw ingredients transform into the most tasty meal to start the day. The fillings varied considerably, making it even more interesting. So to celebrate five years of cooking Vietnamese food, as well as Vietnam’s National Day, it seemed appropriate to cook this lovely dish for breakfast.

A fishing boat in the early morning mists of Halong Bay

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • 10 inch non-stick frying pan and lid (or deep-sided crêpe pan)
  • Measuring spoons and jugs

Ingredients

Batter mix

  • 150g rice flour
  • 60g cornflour
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 50ml coconut cream
  • 500ml cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 spring onion
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Fillings

  • Sliced pork tenderloin
  • Medium prawns
  • Beansprouts
  • White onion
  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Lime juice

These were the fillings I chose, and are traditional. If you fancy something else, go for it. A popular one in Vietnam is chicken with young bamboo.

Method

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir the rice and corn flours together with the turmeric. Add the coconut cream, water and salt and combine together with a whisk. Set aside for at least 10 mins.
  2. Cut the green stems from the spring onions into small strips, around 2cm long. Slice the white parts of the spring onion lengthways and then into 1cm strips. Cut the pork into thin strips, remove the heads and tails from the prawns (if they are on). Slice the white onion into thin strips.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the frying pan over a high heat. Add some white onion strips and saute them for 30 secs.Frying onions in oil
  4. Add a few pieces of pork and prawns. Cook them for 2-3 mins until browned all over.Prawns and pork added into the pan
  5. Stir the batter well with a whisk. Pour 160ml (about a ladle full) of batter mix into the frying pan, adding a few white and green pieces of spring onion. Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle a handful of beansprouts over one half of the batter mix. Cover the pan for 2-3 mins, until the edge is crispy.Batter mixture and beansprouts added into the pan
  6. Remove the pan’s cover. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the crêpe for 6-8 mins until the base is a golden brown colour.
  7. Using a wide rubber spatula, with great care transfer the pancake to a plate, keeping the spatula underneath the part without beansprouts. Add a few basil and coriander leaves with a couple of drops of lime juice on top of the beansprouts. Then fold over the part without beansprouts on it to create the crêpe.
  8. Serve with sweet chili sauce or fish sauce. I prefer chili sauce.
Bánh xèo served with sweet Thai dipping sauce

Hints, Tips and Pictures

  1. To make the folding easier, I put a small chopping board over half of the plate and transfer the pancake so that the half without beansprouts is over that. Then I add the ingredients and use the chopping board to fold over.
  2. Leftover batter milk can be kept for the next day in the fridge, providing the spring onion has not been added to it.
  3. The pancake can be folded over in the pan after adding the ingredients to keep it warm. However, I found it easier to fold once it was on the plate.Folding over in the pan
  4. The transfer to the plate takes a bit of getting used to. If the crêpe breaks up a bit, no matter … it will still taste awesome.

2 thoughts on “Bánh Xèo – Savoury Vietnamese Crêpes

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