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We have fallen in love with these vegan banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes), I can’t even explain to you how delicious they are. Crispy, coconut-y rice flour pancakes stuffed with deliciously crunchy raw veggies and fresh herbs served along with the typical sweet, sour, spicy, salty dipping sauce. It’s giving me all the feels and making me salivate just thinking about it.
It might look like there’s a lot of things going on in this recipes, but don’t worry, it’s not at all as complicated as it seems. If you can mix together flour and water and chop some vegetables, you can make these crepes.
For the crepes you need just five ingredients: rice flour, coconut milk, water (does that count as an ingredient?), turmeric and salt. That’s right – no egg, almost fooled you, didn’t I? You can also throw in some chopped green onion tops if you choose to.
Fry them like a crepe (duh, that’s why they’re called crepes) and dip them in the sauce. If you want you can stop here. These Vietnamese crepes alone and unstuffed are so delicious with their sweet hint of coconut and crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside texture.
We were eating them so fast out of the pan that I’m surprised I had any left to stuff and take pictures of!
Alone they make a great snack but if you want to take it a step further and make it a full meal, then go ahead and stuff away.
The crepes make excellent vehicles for any combination of veggies and they were a great opportunity to use up some of the leftover asparagus and pepper I had from my spring vegetable paella and fresh garden radishes from my radish risotto.
Truth be told I probably overstuffed mine – a real banh xeo wouldn’t have so much spilling out of it (and they were a little messy to eat!) – but just look at all the pretty colours!
There are a couple of different ways you could eat these vegan banh xeo. Just as they are with a fork and knife (in which case you might not want to stuff them as much as I did or you’ll have bits of things falling all over), cut into pieces and wrapped in a lettuce leaf (as my lovely hand model demonstrates), or rolled in rice paper as suggested in The Asian Vegan Kitchen (where I first discovered a basic version of this recipe).
Any way you choose to stuff and eat them will be delicious so I won’t hold you back any longer from this delicious recipe!
Makes about 12 pancakes, depending on the size of your pan
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- The stalks of 2 green onions, chopped (optional)
- (Just a guideline, use whatever veggies you like)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 150 grams (5.3 oz) fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 shallots or half a small onion, diced
- 4 asparagus, cut into 3 pieces
- 200 grams (7 oz) bean sprouts
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 3 -4 radishes, thinly sliced
- A handful of fresh mint
- A handful of cilantro
- Lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili paste or chili flakes or 1 fresh red chili, diced
- Mix together all the crepe ingredients in a bowl and let rest for at least 30 minutes. You can also mix it the night before and leave it in the fridge. Just be sure to warm it to room temperature before using.
- Mix together all the dipping sauce ingredients and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside for the flavours to meld.
- In a small pan over medium heat add the 1 teaspoon of oil and gently fry the shiitakes and shallots or onion until beginning to brown. Add the asparagus, if using, and continue frying until the asparagus is crisp-tender and the shiitakes are lightly browned.
- Combine the shiitakes, shallots or onion, asparagus, red pepper, carrot, cucumber and radishes in a bowl and dress with 2 – 3 tablespoons of the dipping sauce.
- In a small- or medium-sized pan heat about a quarter teaspoon of oil over medium-high heat. Ladle a very small amount of the crepe batter into the pan and tilt the pan in a circular motion in order to coat the surface evenly. The crepe should be very thin and bubble up when it hits the pan. It’s ok if there are some holes in it. Sprinkle some bean sprouts over one half of the crepe and cover the pan with a lid. Allow to cook for about a minute or until the bottom begins to turn golden brown. Fold the crepe closed over the bean sprouts and remove to a plate.
- Continue making the crepes until you have enough for your meal. It’s better to eat them as soon as possible out of the pan when they are still crisp so only make as many as you need for the moment.
- Stuff each crepe with the veggie mixture and serve the crepes with lettuce leaves and herbs. You can stuff some herbs inside or cut the crepe into pieces and wrap in a lettuce leaf along with the herbs. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.