Tag 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.


Lunch at the Jade Hotel

We’re about two thirds of the way up Vietnam now, in Hue. The clouds are are deeper than Saigon. I really should do better research before we travel! It’s a much smaller city than Saigon, still lots of traffic but we are getting the hang of crossing the road.Basically no one really wants to run you over and they are masters of avoidance so you just take a deep breath and launch yourself into the traffic and hope no ones driving the wrong way as you can’t look in two directions at once. The traffic is 90% scooters and bikes.


We are staying in a little guest-house run by the sweetest people who offered to show us how to make a ‘family dinner’ so we headed off this morning on scooters to the market.


Off we zoomed and it began to rain. The market was busy.  Lots of wet people and mountains of food. All sorts of fruit and vegetables, live fish hopping in the baskets, fresh prawns and squid and dodgy looking meat.


We gathered up lots of vegetables, fresh noodles and prawns and headed back to cook. We unpacked and cleaned up all the veg and set cooking in the mini kitchen. The kitchen was very small in every dimension and Con and I were like giants, nearly decapitating ourselves on the cooker hood on several occasions.


The girls were great, masters of the large sharp knife and in no time at all we had made a feast of nem – Vietnamese spring rolls,


noodle soup,


prawns with tamarind sauce


and morning glory with chilli and garlic.


We sat down together and ate the lot!