Vietnamese-Style Crispy Pancake with Shrimp and Bean Sprouts is our contribution dish to the monthly challenge “Around the World in 12 Plates” that took us to Vietnam. A wonderfully crisp and flavorful pancake stuffed with sauteed shrimp, caramelized onion, and fresh bean sprout.
Song of the day: “The Machine” by Nickelback.
Vietnamese-Style Crispy Pancake with Shrimp and Bean Sprout, combines texture, spice, and flavor in an all in one delicious dish!
Vietnamese cooking makes me think of fresh, healthy, and tasty food that is vibrant and when I heard that the next Country on our Around the World in 12 Plates was Vietnam I was really excited to do some research and create a wonderful recipe.
My first thoughts of Vietnam first are the war and episodes of M.A.S.H., but as in most cases the war fades away and a culture rises to the occasion to rebuild their life and land. I have never been to Vietnam but I have seen pictures and heard stories of friends’ travels that peeks my interest. I have a fondness for the Asian culture, especially the food. The noodle dishes, with that simple but ever so tasty broth, and fresh ingredients. The skewers, with those wonderful spices combining sweet and savory. The dipping sauces, packing a nice acidic yet sweet punch.
After much drooling and stomach growling during my search for the recipe that I wanted, I came upon these pancakes (or sometimes called Vietnamese crepes). As soon as I said pancakes, Nicoletta’s eyebrows rose and a smile came across her face. That alone had my decision sealed, along with the thought of a crunchy savoury combination as in this Vietnamese-Style Crispy Pancake with Shrimp and Bean Sprout.
Banh Xeo in Vietnamese meaning “sizzling cake”, as this is the sound you are going to hear when you put the batter into a nice hot pan glistening with oil. Breakfast pancakes are one of my most favorite things to make, especially for my beautiful wife Nicoletta. The thought of changing lanes and making a savory pancake has my curiosity heightened and my tastebuds wondering. After researching quite a few recipes, I settled in on a simple one that has few ingredients but some spice that I think we will enjoy.
The batter is a combination of rice flour, coconut cream, turmeric, some seasoning and of course green onion. The filling, some shrimp and onion and for that fresh element, bean sprouts. I didn’t have the rice flour but used a “00” flour. You know what they say if you don’t have something, improvise, and that is what I did. I am going to make these again because I want to know how it tasted and the texture that comes about, when using the rice flour. We found some amazing bean sprouts at our downtown market on 104th street and off Jasper Avenue. The stand is Reclaim Urban Farm, which houses a variety of micro greens and this is where we found the bean sprouts, which will be perfect to offset the crispy spiciness of the cakes thanks to the turmeric.
I wanted to garnish with some fresh herbs, and in our herb garden we have basil and mint in abundance, and so the finishing touches are covered. I also like the way it just gives sparks of vibrant color and accentuates the golden hue of the pancakes delivered by the turmeric. They say turmeric is quite good for us and helps eliminate joint soreness and inflammation, which is a bonus because it tastes so good too.
I want to just dig in. The crispy edges of these golden globes are evident in that crackling sound. The nice hints of green onion nestled so nicely in the folds of batter. The hue of the turmeric gives us a burst of sunshine, and abundance prevalent in the shrimp, onion, bean sprout billowing out of the fold of the pancake. Even in my breakfast pancakes, I like to get a nice crunchy edge, but this Vietnamese-style pancake defies the laws of texture. A nice light layer of crispiness bringing us into the center folds of spice and tenderness, and a beautiful hit of peppery and curriness from the turmeric. The coconut milk provides a nice nutty sweetness to the mix and adding in the fact that I fried them in a hot pan with a smidge of sesame and peanut oil just to accentuate the nuttiness which marries well with all the other flavor combinations. The shrimp and onion combination melt in your mouth with such succulence, sending you in a blissful trance of enjoyment and gratification. Then out of no where the bean sprout, fresh basil and mint, come in with that vibrant earthy crack, that wakes us to the fact that we have many more adventures in each bite of this dish.
If Asian cuisine is your thing, and you want to take your cooking on a little adventure, try these wonderful Vietnamese-Style Crispy Pancake with Shrimp and Bean Sprout.
Song of the day: “The Machine” by Nickelback. (p.s. Love this song, the rhythm, the energy, perfect for creativity!)
- 1 1/3 cups rice flour (we used "00" flour)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 green onion chopped fine
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Pinch of chili flakes
- Pinch of sea salt, cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder.
- 1 tbsp of sesame oil
- 1 tbsp of peanut oil
- 1 cup small shrimp pre-cooked
- 1/2 white onion sliced
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp mayo
- 1 tsp peanut oil
- Pinch of salt, and ground white pepper
- Pat of butter
- 1 cup fresh bean sprout
- 1 green onion chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
- In a bowl sift flour, turmeric, salt, pepper, onion powder.
- Mix in coconut milk and whisk until smooth. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- In a wok heat up sesame and peanut oil.
- Toss in onion and sautee till soft and translucent.
- Toss in shrimp and mayo and saute for another 2 minutes or so.
- Season white pepper, salt and butter.
- Take off heat and set aside.
- Heat up sesame oil and peanut oil in a saute pan.
- Pour 2 tbsp of batter into center of pan and use spoon to shape it into a circle, spreading the batter from center to outside round.
- Let it cook for 1-2 minutes then flip and cook for an additional minute.
- Place some shrimp and onion mixture onto one side of the pancake.
- Sprinkle some bean sprout and green onion on top of shrimp.
- Then fold pancake in half and take out of pan and onto a serving plate.
- Sprinkle pancakes with fresh chopped basil and mint.
- Repeat this process until batter is finished.
- Ready to serve.
Traditionally they put coriander leaves, and also fresh chilies in the batter mix. We used "00" flour but traditionally they use rice flour.
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Make sure you check out the other amazing recipes from fellow bloggers participating in this exciting challenge that is “Around the World in 12 Plates”:
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