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Bánh Xèo: Vietnamese Pancakes

Bánh xèo are Vietnamese savoury rice pancakes filled with slivered vegetables and served with a sweet chilli based dipping sauce. "Xeo" means sizzling and the refers to the sound the batter makes when its poured into the hot skillet. In Hue, the old Imperial capital, the pancakes are known as Happy Pancakes. These pancakes are much like Vietnamese crêpes and have become extremely popular for brunch on our Vietnamese cooking courses.

Vietnamese Pancakes (Banh Xeo)

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Batter

  • 200g white rice flour (Thai brand works best)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of salt
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • water to mix
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Filling

  • 125g plain or marinated tofu sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 spring onions, sliced thinly
  • ½ red pepper, thinly sliced
  • handful of beansprouts, washed
  • coriander
  • mint
  • Thai basil

Chilli sauce

  • 2 tbsps tamari
  • 1 tbsp ginger juice
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbsps sweet chilli sauce
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Method:

  1. The batter for these pancakes needs to be made a couple of hours before you need to use it.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl with the turmeric and the salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the beaten egg and the coconut milk gradually, stirring all the time, add water a little at a time to make a smooth batter. After the batter has sat, you may need to thin it a little more to a pourable batter consistency.
  3. Marinate the tofu in the marinade for at least an hour; stir occasionally so that the tofu is evenly covered.
  4. Drain the tofu – keeping the marinade. Pan-fry the tofu in a little sunflower oil until crisp. Put the marinade in a small saucepan and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency.
  5. In a large frying pan, heat and wipe with oil. Pour a ladle of batter, enough to make a 12cm wide pancake into the hot frying pan, it will bubble and spit and cook quickly on the underside, make sure it is cooked on the underside, before you flip it over and cook the other side.
  6. Lay the pancake on a plate and add the vegetables and tofu to your taste, spoon on a little of the marinade sauce.
  7. Serve with fragrant herbs and lettuce leaves.

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