Savory Pancakes Part II: Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Savory Pancakes)
Savory pancakes > sweet pancakes in my world.
Then again, savory anything > sweet anything in my world, so whatever I say here is colored by that obvious bias. I’m pretty sure the ratio of savory to sweet foods on this blog is 80/20 at best.
What can I say?
The last meal I would choose to cross my lips is french fries, oysters, and champagne. Or braised beef or slow-roasted pork belly. Or foie gras or crispy duck confit.
Or since it would be my least meal, all of the above! Preferably while IN France. OMG yes. I mean, oui.
OK back to savory pancakes, which could also be included in the meal. There is something so marvelously satisfying about piling in a variety of textures – certainly crispness – and temperatures too. I’m all about the contrast of hot-from-the-pan pancakes loaded with cool, crisp vegetables and fresh herbs. This is why I adore fish tacos with crispy cabbage slaw IN the tacos.
I’m wandering again. Back to pancakes, these lovelies in particular. They’re a bit fragile, so I like to make them on the small side so that I can pick up them up to eat (inhale). It takes a minute to julienne veggies, but it’s worth it for the flavor-explosion it provides in each bite. A mandoline can make fast work of it.
Originally posted June 14, 2011
Naturally gluten-free, bánh xèo are simple, savory crepes made from rice flour and coconut milk. Served warm and filled with cool, crisp vegetables, herbs, and drizzled with a spicy-salty sauce, they will blow your mind with flavor and texture achieved with very little effort.
Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Savory Pancakes)
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
Note: The recipe is meatless, and is absolutely delicious just that way, although feel free to add shrimp and/or pork if you like. Traditional bánh xèo are filled with both. I will be making the sauce all summer long to use as a salad dressing—it’s fantastic. I sliced the vegetables on a mandoline, then cut into julienne—fast chopping!
For the pancakes:
1 cup rice flour
1 large organic egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 can coconut milk
water as needed
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon tamari
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1 fresh red chile, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
For the filling:
1 large carrot, peeled, shredded or sliced thin
1 daikon radish, peeled, shredded or sliced thin (I substituted local radishes)
4 spring onions, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 fresh green chili, shredded or sliced thin
1 c. sugar snap peas, sliced thin on the diagonal (I substituted local pea shoots)
handful of fresh cilantro, torn
handful of fresh basil, torn
handful of fresh mint, torn
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts (I substituted local asparagus)
1/2 cup enoki mushrooms
In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, egg, salt, and turmeric. Whisk in the coconut milk. Add a little bit of water if needed to achieve a thin pancake batter consistency. Set aside to rest.
To make the sauce, whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Adjust the chili to taste.
For the filling, toss the vegetables together in a large bowl.
Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium high heat. Add a small drizzle of oil and when it’s hot, swirl about 1/3 c. of batter into the pan. Cook until set and lightly browned, about 3 minutes, flip and cook for 1 minute, then turn out of the pan onto a baking sheet. Continue the same process to cook all of the pancakes.
To serve, place warm pancakes on a plate. Top with a handful of vegetables, drizzle with sauce, roll up and eat with additional sauce.