Bánh Xèo is a delicious savoury, gluten free Vietnamese pancake that literally means sizzling cake, the word Xèo refers to the sizzling sound made by the batter hitting the hot pan. It’s cooked in minutes and can be filled with all manner of meat and vegetables that you fancy although traditonally, Bánh Xèo is filled with pork, prawns and some beansprouts.
The best ones I had in Vietnam were always the ones sold by street vendors, perhaps it’s the whole street food experience that I love, something I grew up with in Singapore and Malaysia, with our hawker stalls and night street markets. You tear a little piece of the pancake, grab some lettuce and dip the whole lot into some dipping sauce (nuoc cham, recipe below). Then, savour the multiple layers of flavours and sensations that come in that single mouthful! Whenever I make these at home, I always go through one before they land on the table, resistance is futile!
The picture above is of a travelling street vendor, selling all manner of foods, from fresh to cooked to dried.
These pancakes are usually made with rice flour, so, here we go, a gluten free recipe and because of the rice flour, take on a crispy texture that you can’t get get with wheat flour alone. My kids are especially fond of them extra crispy and the youngest has it without any filling, just as it is!
I might have mentioned that I have a huge collection of recipes collected on my travels, and this is one that I picked up in Vietnam, just by having it made fresh infront of me countless times! Let’s face it, all it takes is flour, water, filling – that’s it! I’ve had and made vegetarian versions as well, with just beansprouts, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. Super delicious!
If you cannot get hold of rice flour, it is extremeky easy to make at home. Just zap some unwashed, uncooked white rice grains into a coffee or spice mill and you’re all set! You could use brown rice flour, if you prefer, but to me, there is a time and place for brown and this isn’t one of them!
Season and cook all filling (apart from the beansprouts) before hand.
I’ve seen the filling cooked separately and added to the pancake as well as at the same time. I’ve given my preferred method here, precooking the filling.
Bánh Xèo – Savoury Vietnamese Pancakes