Banh Xeo, the Vietnamese crepes or yellow pancakes are one of my favorite dishes, its light and fresh from all of the herbs. It's extremely crunchy, and served with a sauce you can't get enough of.Jump to Recipe
What is Bánh Xèo?
Bánh Xèo or banh xeo (bon say-oh) is a crispy Vietnamese crepe. This gluten-free dish is named after the sizzling sound the batter makes when it hits the hot pan. It is traditionally served with Nước chấm. Nuoc cham is a sweet and savory condiment made from a few staple ingredients.
The first time I had this dish I became a little obsessed with it. I love foods with texture and I often crave them. The crunch of a fried chicken or the cracklin of a roast pork are things I dream about. This dish is no different.
I grew up in an Asian family. My mom is Filipino and my grandma lived with us growing up. Often times when we'd go out to eat it would be one of the asian restaurants close by. East Charlotte is rich with culture and I learned to try different cuisines long before ever becoming a chef.
For Vietnamese cuisine, it started with pho the bone broth soup. Then banh mi, the famous sandwich, and eventually I landed here with Vietnamese crepes aka Banh Xeo. After eating this many times at long time Charlotte establishments Lang Van and Ben Thanh, here is my interpretation.
Tips for Vietnamese Crepes
There are a few secrets to making the best Vietnamese crepe. Including buying the right ingredients and cooking it correctly. To get the right ingredients it's best to go to an Asian grocery store. Here you can find prepackaged rice flour that includes turmeric (the ingredient that makes them yellow) as well as the correct cut of pork.
This recipe uses thinly sliced pork belly. You generally won't find this in a regular grocery store but it's pretty common in Asian cuisine. Think of it as bacon that hasn't been salted cured and smoked. For shrimp I like to get 16/20 peeled and deveined shrimp. These are a little bigger and stand up to the high heat better. You can find these at the fish counter or in the frozen section.
The batter has to sit for 30 minutes to fully hydrate the rice flour. You have to have a medium-high heat and cook it for a little longer than you think.
How to Make Banh Xeo
Start by mixing the rice flour, turmeric, scallions, salt, water, and coconut milk. Whisk until it's thoroughly combined and set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
While the batter is resting, prepare your herbs and nuoc cham sauce.
Preheat a 12-14" non-stick pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot add a tablespoon of oil and a few slices of the pork belly. Season the pork belly with salt. When the pork belly begins to cook and release more fat add in the sliced onion and shrimp. Season again with salt.
Cook ingredients together for another minute or so and give everything a flip. Ensure your heat is still high at this point. Push the pork and shrimp to the sides creating an open space in the middle. This is where you will fold it at the end. When you pour the batter in the batter in the pan needs to be hot enough to set it very quickly. You'll hear the namesake sizzle as it hits the pan.
Move the pan around while tilting it up to get the batter to evenly coat the pan. Cook for a minute uncovered to set it. Then cover with another pan or plate or large lid. Continue to cook over medium medium for a couple more minutes. Remove the lid and add beansprouts.
Now if you've done everything correctly. If the heat is high enough, and there's enough fat in the pan, and nothing is stuck you'll be able to release your CRISPY banh xeo with a rubber spatula. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor and eat it with leaf lettuce and fresh herbs. Serve with Nuoc Cham.
Banh Xeo CRISPY Vietnamese Crepes
- Medium Bowl
- 12-14" Nonstick Pan
- Rubber Spatula
- 340 g Rice flour (or banh xeo mix)
- 1 tbsp Turmeric
- 2 ea Scallions chopped
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 cups Water
- 1 can Coconut milk (13.5oz)
- 1 lb Pork Belly thinly sliced, skin off
- 1 lb Peeled and Deveined Shrimp 16/20 size and tail off
- 1/4 cup Onions sliced
- 1 ea Large Hand-ful of Bean Sprouts
- 2 tbs Oil high heat such as canola, vegetable, peanut etc
- 1 ea Head of Leaf lettuce
- 1 ea Bunch of Mint
- 1 ea Bunch of Thai Basil
- 1 ea Bunch of Perilla/Shiso optional
- 1 ea Bunch of Cilantro
Prepare the Batter
- Combine all ingredients for the batter. Whisk until smooth and set aside. The batter needs to rest for atleast 30 minutes so that the rice flour is hydrated.
- While the batter is resting prepare the other ingredients.
How to make Vietnamese Crepes
- Preheat a large nonstick pan over medium high heat.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the sliced pork belly. Cook the pork belly on one side until it begins to release more fat and become a little crispy. Flip over.
- Add the sliced onion and shrimp. Cook until the onions have began to soften and the shrimp is halfway cooked. Flip the shrimp over.
- Move the ingredients around in the pan so there is a space in the middle. This is where you will fold it at the end.
- Make sure your heat is still high because when you add the batter the pan will cool down. Add 2-4oz of batter to the pan. If your heat is correct and there is enough oil you should hear the namesake sizzling sound.
- Cook for one minute uncovered, while tilting the pan in different directors to distribute the batter evenly. Cover the pan with a lid, or another pan, or a large plate. Cook covered over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the lid and cook for one more minute, add in the bean sprouts
- With a rubber spatula flip one half over and remove from the pan. Blot on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- ENJOY! Eat this by making little "tacos" with the lettuce and herbs. Some people like to enjoy the rolled in rice paper wrappers as well. Serve with nuoc cham.
YES! This recipe is completely gluten free. Always double check when buying the mix at the store, some contain wheat flour. Always double check at restaurants as well because beer is a common ingredient in the batter.
You eat these either by wrapping them in lettuce and herbs or by rolling them in rice paper wrappers.
The batter is vegan, feel free to substitute tofu or textured vegetable protein.
I say it bon say-oh
The secret is having the pan hot enough when you pour in the batter, as well as having enough oil in the pan. Cook it for a little longer than you think for maximum crispness.