Category Archives: Vietnamese

Banh Xeo – Sizzling Pancakes


Banh Xeo are the most delicious Vietnamese savoury pancakes. They are fried until crispy then rolled up in salad leaves with mint and dunked in dipping sauce before popping into your mouth
Guaranteed to make you swoon. Our family thought they’d died and gone to heaven when I made them for dinner. Just silence and appreciative grunts coming from the dinner table.
The pancake is made with rice flour, or a combo of rice and wheat flour mixed together with coconut milk, spring onion, egg and turmeric. This is whisked to a smooth batter. I made them with prawns, mushrooms and beansprouts but the filling is fairly free lance. Whatever you fancy but don’t put too much in as the pancake will be unmanageable when you flip it.
The inclusion of regular flour makes them more manageable for non coeliacs but the recipe works well both ways
Here’s the recipe

200g rice flour or combo of rice and regular flour
2tbs cornflour
1 egg
half tsp turmeric
a handful of chopped spring onion greens
150mls coconut milk
about 100mls water
half tsp salt

Put the dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well in the middle then crack in the egg and add the coconut milk.
Whisk everything together and thin with water until you have medium pouring consistency – like melted chocolate. Stir in the spring onions.
Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes


For the filling
20 raw prawns – 2 for each pancake
250g mushrooms
250g bean sprouts
a little butter or oil to cook the mushrooms

Salad leaves – washed and spun
a big bunch of mint leaves

Heat a frying pan. Slice the mushrooms, drop a knob of butter or a glut of oil into the frying pan and add the mushrooms. Toss them well and cook on a high heat until they are cooked the way you like them. Season with a little salt and pepper and put aside.
To make the pancakes heat a small to medium size frying pan. Add a little oil and a couple of prawns, cook them for a couple of minutes – until they are pink- then add a few mushrooms. Drag the mushrooms and prawns to one side and pour in a small ladle of batter.


The pancake should be thin like a crepe. Cook on a medium high heat for a couple of minutes then add a small pile if bean sprouts to the pancake and flip in half. Increase the heat to high and cook each side until crispy. You might want to add a little more oil.


To serve the pancakes make a little dipping sauce

Dipping Sauce

3tbs Lime juice
2tbs Fish sauce/Nam Pla
1tbs water
2-3 Chillies
2 cloves garlic
1 dsp Sugar

Peel and chop the garlic and chop the chillies then mix together with all the other ingredients.


Put the pancakes onto plates and break or cut a piece off and wrap it in a salad leaf with a couple of pieces of mint tucked in. Dunk in the dipping sauce and pop it in your mouth.


Arrival in Saigon


We arrived in Saigon last night, it’s officially called Ho Chi Min but everyone still calls it Saigon. It’s hot and steamy. We’re sitting in a 32c cloud, mosquitos and all. Not that I expect any sympathy!

We have become instant millionaires, the Vietnamese Dong comes in zillions. It’s quite difficult to get my head around. one euro is worth around 26,000 and something so everything sounds expensive but it’s actually dead cheap,

The food we have eaten so far has been a mixture of delicious and strange. Last night when we arrived we were very hungry having not eaten since our Bangkok breakfast and we took the advice of the hotel receptionist and went to an eatery around the corner. That was very strange. Today’s lunch was much more successful, We wandered through the streets in the general direction of the ‘War Remnants’ museum and by the time we got there we were hungry again. There was a vegetarian restaurant on the same block so we sauntered in and had a delicious feed of fresh spring rolls,


morning glory salad



and deep fried vegetables



all washed down with carrot, celery and lemongrass juice


which was just the fortification that we needed as the war museum was quite a harrowing experience.

Anyone of a certain age will remember the Vietnam war and all the propaganda that went with it. The visual documentation is  disturbing. The exhibitions are a collection of news footage from all sides and nationalities and it just goes to prove what a waste of humanity it all was. We found it quite upsetting, the facts and figure would give anyone nightmares. Maybe it seems a strange thing to do on holiday but as a visitor to Vietnam what is in fact recent history is relevant in a perverse way.


Now we have that out of the way I think we’ll concentrate on eating!