Saturday, April 11, 2015

What's Cooking at our House: Banh Xeo

Banh Xeo is a delight of contrasting textures and flavors.

Banh Xeo is a Vietnamese crepe, literally translated as sizzling cake. Celebrity chef Charles Pham (owner of The Slanted Door in San Francisco) described the prep process in his cookbook Vietnamese Home Cooking:

The cooking technique (of this crispy crepe stuffed with bean sprouts, pork and shrimp) will be familiar to anyone who has ever made French-style crepe, but the batter itself is different: it is eggless, made mostly from rice flour and dried mung beans, and is seasoned with turmeric and coconut milk.

Ma femme was inspired to make banh xeo and Pham's sauce. here are the results (the recipe is on page 58 of Pham's cookbook):

We asked our Vietnamese friends about the range of banh xeo fillings, and they reported that the choice is very flexible. The recipe calls for mint leaves; we left the mint out. It's also easy to leave out the meat and substitute pressed flavored tofu.

The traditional way of consuming banh xeo is to cut a piece of the crepe, place it on a fresh lettuce leaf (red or leaf lettuce, not iceberg), drizzle with sauce and eat the resulting morsel with your fingers.

The banh xeo is a delight of contrasting textures and flavors--crispy, chewy, flavorful. 

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