Sunday, August 3, 2008

Momma's Banh Xeo

Being up in North Bay, Ontario there isn't really much choice in terms of Vietnamese food (or many other types of ethnic food for that matter). Usually when I visit my brother there, my parents will bring various ingredients from Ottawa as there is a decent sized Chinatown there with lots of Asian grocery stores.

My inability to cook using measurements is both nature and nuture. Many will find this post frustrating for the low reproducibility of this dish known as the Vietnamese pancake or Vietnamese fajitas to some.

You can buy the packages of flour base for Banh Xeo that has some unfortunate "Engrish" instructions that may make things confusing for you... "one bowl of coconut milk"?! In case the print is too small for you to read (if you click on it you'll get the bigger version), you are also supposed to add 3 cups of water, some chopped green onions and a small packet of turmeric.

Once you're done the mixing it should look something like this.

We also cooked some mung beans for the filling and some other goodies for the filling too. The meat is usually shrimp and pork, but the only pork regionally available that day was about half a pig's worth so that was omitted.

Then you heat up a frying pan. My mom uses a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil to grease the bottom. Ladle in one spoonful of the batter and cook until crispy and a bit browned on the bottom.

You also need lots of greenery (cukes, lettuce, basil, mint), some carrots and some fish sauce for dipping. Fill, fold, eat and enjoy!


Tia said...

Hi, Jenny! It must be a VNmese thing to never measure. When I ask my sisters for a recipe, they usually say: a soup spoon of this, a rice bowl of that and a little bit of such and such. I guess that makes it more fun in the kitchen! :)

Boston Chomps said...

same for my mom in law :P a little this or that?

btw that looks delicious ... not going to attempt making the dish :) so where can I find it in Boston??

Jenny T. said...

Tia: Yes... I definitely think it is a Viet thing not to measure which makes my sister-in-law who is not VNmese exceedingly upset when she tries to make any of our dishes! I do agree the experimentation is lots of fun!

Boston Chomps: we live in Chinatown and almost all the places there have it (Pho Pasteur definitely does). For the yummiest versions, I would seek it out in Dorchester where the more authentic restaurants tend to be.

Thanks for reading!