I’ve flexed my muscles and have conjured up a bit of Bánh xèo for you, or ‘sizzling cake’, for want of a literal meaning. This scrummy Vietnamese dish (even if I do say so myself) combines the stuffings of crispy pork and shrimp, smothered in bean sprouts, wrapped snuggly in a coconut-infused crepe. Sounds rather similar to a regular crepe, only difference is the crepe is really more of a papadum-pancake hybrid (at least, that’t how mine turned out), crunchy as you plant your gnashers on the outside, only for them to be met with a soft, doughy centre as you plough on.
It’s high time I crack on with the dish so for starters, you’ll need…well, money. To get your ingredients.
Step 1: Mix the batter
12 ounces Bánh Xèo flour or rice flour
1 teaspoon turmeric
14 ounces coconut cream
3 cups water
½ cup chopped green onions
Yup, that’s right. Throw everything into a bowl and whisk away until smooth. Set it aside.
Step 2: Make the sauce
½ cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 ½ cups water
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon chopped Thai chilli (optional, I added a tablespoon of chilli sauce instead)
Once again, whack all of these ingredients together, and make sure all the sugar has dissolved.
Step 3: Prepare the vegetables
Peel the lettuce, leaving the leaves whole. Chop up the mint and coriander roughly. Cut the cucumber into long, small chunks. Set this aside too.
Step 4: Cook the crepes
8 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 sliced onion
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 pound lean pork meat (sliced thin)
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ pounds bean sprouts
Season the pork and shrimp with the salt and pepper. Heat up a non-stick pan and gently fry the onions and garlic. Once golden brown, throw in the pork and shrimp, remembering to stir gently. As the meat develops a crispy skin, pour in your whisked batter from Step 1 . Allow it to cook for a few minutes, so that the crepe becomes crunchy on the outside. Whack on the lid to cook for a further 4 minutes.
At this point, both sides should be cooked. All that remains is to sprinkle some fresh bean sprouts on the surface, and carefully fold the crepe in half. Scoop it out and place on a bed of lettuce. Serve with the dipping sauce.
I was a little too immersed in the cooking so er, no pictures for this bit, which happens to be THE MOST IMPORTANT. How convenient.
Thankfully, YouTube has come to save the day. Yummiesfordummies has made a video of the full cooking process, so you can spare my abysmal attempts at recipe writing.