Hello Spring!!! What a gorgeous and lively season! I love it when everything rejuvenates after the long cold winter. My unattended little garden surprised me yesterday when I came out for the first time to clean up the backyard after several winter months. All my mints and herbs that I planted last year are now full of life and competing with each other to show their vibrant green leaves under the shining sun. And that was how I came up with the idea to have this Vietnamese savory crapes for dinner tonight.
Wait a minute, you may ask, how does that have anything to do with the mints and herbs? Well, if you look closely to my pictures you will see how they are related. Unlike the French crepes which usually served alone by itself, the Vietnamese crepes are usually accompanied by a lot of green vegetables such as lettuces, mustard greens, and a varieties of Vietnamese mints and herbs along side with the fish sauce dressing. It has been a long while since I last made this and I have certainly enjoyed it very much especially with my freshly grown green vegetables.
Ingredients: (make about 10 crepes)
1. 1 bag of any brand Banh xeo flour, about 500g (I used Huong xua brand)
2. 1 can of coconut milk (about 400ml)
3. 600-700ml of water
4. 1/2 tsp salt
5. 1 tsp sugar
6. 1 tsp mushroom seasoning
7. 1 tbsp of oil
8. 1/4 cup of chopped green onions
9. 2/3 lb of pork belly (sliced into thin slice, 1 inch wide)
10. 1 lb of shrimps (peeled and deveined)
11. Sliced shallots ( from about 10 shallots)
12. Bean sprouts
13. Cooking oil
14. Green leave lettuces, mustard greens, varieties of mints, peppermint and fresh herbs
15. Garlic fish sauce for dipping (see recipe below)
Garlic fish sauce:
- 5 cloves of garlic (minced finely)
- 2 thai red chili peppers
- 5 tsp of vinegar
- 8 tsp of fish sauce
- 4 tbsp of sugar
- 3/4 cup of water
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl until the sugar has all dissolve. Serve together with shredded pickled carrots and daikon (Do chua).
- Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a large prepping bowl and stir well until all combined (Notes: all the banh xeo bags have their own batter mixing instruction in the back, but I modified and adjusted the seasoning to my own taste).
- In a large, non-stick frying pan, add about 1-2 tbsp of oil. Then add in a few slices of shallots, pork belly and shrimps. Stir for a few second until the meats and shrimps are half way cook, then immediately pour in a couple ladles of the batter mixture and swirl the pan around to evenly spread the batter to make the crepe as thin as possible.
- Leave the frying pan open for about 3 minutes then add a handful of beansprout to 1 side of the crepe. Cover the pan with a lid for couple more minutes.
- Once the bottom of the crepe turn golden brown and the middle of the crepe batter has set, fold the crepe in half as in folding an omelet.
- Dish it out onto a large serving plate and serve immediately while it's still hot.
The typical way to serve banh xeo is to put together a large piece of lettuce leave and a piece of mustard green leave, arrange the mints and herbs in the middle. Break a small piece of banh xeo and lay it neatly on top of the mints, then roll it up into a roll. Dip the banh xeo roll into the garlic dipping sauce and enjoy!
Another way to serve banh xeo is to add all the vegetables into a small bowl, then add a couple pieces of banh xeo and drizzle the garlic fish sauce over. Roughly mix the content in your bowl and enjoy.
This dish could be served as an appetizer or as a main dish and it is perfect for cold, rainy weather as well.