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Sudi Pigott's Vietnamese Banh Xeo pancakes


banh xeo
February 28, 2017
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To celebrate Pancake Day, chef Sudi Pigott has shared her recipe for savoury crepes with a twist. The food guru has revealed a Vietnamese recipe for Banh Xeo pancakes, which include prawns and vegetables. "This is a crisp and lacy bright-yellow pancake from Vietnam that is far more substantial than a spring roll," she explains. "Bánh xèo – which means "sizzling cake" – is traditionally served with both pork and prawns, although I've made a lighter version with just prawns and added extra-crisp vegetables. For a vegan version, add fine strips of mooli and carrots and leave out the prawns."

Makes: 6 x 24cm/9½ in pancakes 

Serves: 3

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus resting

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 200g/7oz brown rice flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 300ml/½pt coconut milk
  • 150ml/¼pt warm water
  • 3 tbsp groundnut, sunflower or rapeseed oil, for cooking

For the dipping sauce:

  • 40ml/1½fl oz lime juice
  • 1½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice wine water
  • 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 2cm/¾in piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 small Thai red chilli (or to taste), finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed½ tsp salt
  • 50ml/2fl oz warm water
banh xeo pancakes

For the filling:

  • 3 tbsp groundnut, sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 100g/4oz shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 150g/5oz mangetout, trimmed and sliced into thin strips
  • 150g/5oz raw prawns, deveined
  • 150g/5oz beansprouts
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally

To serve:

  • 1 cos lettuce
  • 15g/½oz coriander leaves
  • 15g/½oz mint leaves
  • 15g/½oz Thai basil leaves

Method: 

  1. Put the rice flour, salt and turmeric in a bowl. Slowly pour in the coconut milk, whisking to ensure there are no lumps, until you have a batter the consistency of single cream. Add up to 150ml/¼pt warm water to thin the batter, if necessary. Set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
  2. To make the dipping sauce, put all the ingredients in a bowl with 50ml/2fl pz warm water and whisk together, ensuring the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  3. To make the filling, heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and mushrooms and cook gently until the onion softens and the mushrooms start to brown. Add the mangetout and stir to warm through but so they retain their crispiness. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the prawns and cook for 1-2 minutes until pink, ten stir in the mushroom mixture. Put on a lid and keep warm over a very low heat.
  5. Preheat the oven to 100C, 220F, Gas ¼ and warm a plate to keep the pancakes warm as you make them.
  6. To cook the pancakes, heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tsbp oil. Spread evenly with kitchen paper so that the oil covers the base very lightly. Turn up the heat to high and, when the oil is very hot, pour in 4tbsp of the batter and immediately swirl it round so that the batter spreads out to the edges of the pan. The edges can be thinner than the centre of the bánh xèo to encourage them to crisp.
  7. Add a small handful of the mushroom mixture, with some beansprouts and spring onion. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 3 minutes or until the bánh xèo turns very crisp. It should be golden at the edges and coming away from the pan. Remove the lid and use a spatula to fold one half of the pancake over the other. Transfer to the warmed plate and keep warm in the oven. Repeat the process until you have 6 pancakes – the batter may need to be re-whisked after each bánh xèo to ensure there are no lumps.
  8. Serve the bánh xèo with plenty of lettuce leaves, coriander, mint and Thai basil with the dipping sauce in small bowls on the side. The traditional way to eat bánh xèo is to take a lettuce leaf, pile some herbs onto it, then break off a piece of the pancake and place it inside the leaf. Roll it up like a spring roll and dip it into the sauce.

Flipping Good! by Sudi Pigott (Kyle Books, £9.99 hardback0 is a must for anyone with a passion for pancakes. It contains sweet and savoury recipes from more than 25 countries, along with hints and tips, serving suggestions and more.

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