Cooking Bánh Xeo
I am frequently asked ‘what do you like most about Ho Chi Minh’. The answer: food and people. And in the absence of mountains my ‘social media’ posts of one kind or another frequently feature food either cooked or uncooked. As luck would have it one of the lovely people I have met is a fantastic cook and today I had a cookery lesson.
Been and bean sprouts waiting to be cooked
How to make bánh xeo, crispy pancakes. Not that I’ll ever be able to reproduce them. My excuses a) the lack of ingredients, b) the rather unique cooking stove and c) they are very hard to get right.
But I spent my morning helping to transform this
Batter made with rice flour, beer, onions and water
Salad leaves and herbs
crispy pancake – bánh xeo
There was a lot of chopping and stirring involved. Vietnamese food takes a lot of ingredients and a lot of preparation, but the end result was delicious.
cooking beef and shrimp
The main dish, the pancakes are made from a batter of rice flour, water, beer, onions and cumin. A pan is heated over the charcoal stove and a thin layer of batter added. Then beef, shrimp, bean sprouts and finally quails eggs are put on top. Put on a lid and wait. The skill is in making the pancake thin enough and leaving it long enough so that it turns crispy but is still soft enough to fold and not stick to the pan. My attempts were not that professional!
Adding Quails eggs
A sauce is made from sugar, fish sauce, (a staple ingredient in any Vietnamese kitchen) onions, garlic, chilli carrots and an other root vegetable which I can not name.
and a few bean sprouts
I am getting used to having salad leaves to dunk in my soup and was not surprised to have enough leaves to feed several rabbits on the table. All had to be stripped from stalks and washed.
Sauce for dipping
Once the pancakes were cooked they were eaten by rolling pieces in leaves rather like cos lettuce, with a few smaller leaves thrown in for good measure. The mini roll is then dipped in the sauce before eating.
and finally.. break it all up and eat in a leaf
Ngon qua – Delicious!
Oh, and is if to remind me of where I actually come from; well Peter Rabbit gets everywhere!