Banh Xeo: Some Progress

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by phatch, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Or Saigon Sizzling Crepes. I first attempted this a couple of years ago. It was disastrous. Batter was too thick, cooked up stiff and was gummy. inedible. 

    I made my second attempt today and this was much better. 



    Normally this is eaten with chunks wrapped in larger leaves of lettuce. I only had some spring mix in my refrigerator so I just stacked it up on the fork like a salad. Dip in nuoc cham.

    Pretty good. Can be better. My batter is still thick. It seizes up in the pan nigh instantly. No swirling of this batter. 

    Just for reference, here is a pic of a more successful version:
    From http://www.thehappycookingfriends.com/banh-xeo-crepe-farcie-vietnamienne/  Their liquid ratios are a bit drier than what I was using but theirs was still much thinner. Not quite sure what's going on with mine. 
     
  2. ordo

    ordo

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    I really need to try different asian cuisines appart from Sechuan dishes. This recipe looks interesting.
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    It's pretty good. The rice flour crepe is quite bland and is just a foil for everything else. The recipe I used added curry powder beyond the turmeric and coconut milk they all call for. 

    For as thin as the batter is, it's surprising how it seizes thickly in the pan. 
     
  4. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Did you use a commercial curry powder? The reason I ask is that some have mustard in their mix and was wondering if that would contribute to the tightening?
     
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, this was a commercial curry powder. My previous version didn't use curry powder and was even thicker. 

    Interesting about mustard powder. I knew it emulsifies, but didn't think about how that might play in here. 
     
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    My wheels are really spinning, but without much traction at this point, do you mind posting the recipe?
     
  7. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    This is from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham.

    2 cups rice flour

    1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

    2 1/2 cups water

    1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

    1 teaspoon sugar

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon curry powder (Vietnamese Golden Bells brand preferred--I used Spice Hunter brand)

    3 scallions cut into thin rings

    There are various fillings. 

    Place the rice flour, cocount milk, water, turmeric, sugar, salt, curry powder and scallions in a bowl. Stir well to blend, set aside. 

    Cooking on high heat, you add some parts of the filling to the pan to cook. Move it to one side. Whisk the batter well and ladle about 2/3 cup into the pan. Swirl so the batter completely covers the surface. Add the rest of the filling on the one side and cover. Reduce heat slightly, cover and cook until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Uncover and cook until the crepe is crisp and filling is done. Fold the crepe and plate for serving. 
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sizzling-saigon-crpes-bnh-xo  Alleged to be her restaurant recipe, it's almost the same, just with more curry powder. Interesting how it only has two stars. It deserves better than that. Also points out not to use glutinous rice flour in the book. 

    This version uses the same recipe and has a thicker result like I did.

    http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2009/12/vietnamese-sizzling-crepes-banh-xeo.html


    Looking for some youtube insight, she starts cooking at about 4:30.  The batter goes into the pan about 6:00 minutes.



    She uses quite a bit more liquid. http://yummies4dummies.blogspot.com/2011/08/sizzling-vietnamese-crepes-banh-xeo.html
    Might have to give her version a try but with the curry powder. i liked the curry powder. 
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  9. kingfarvito

    kingfarvito

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    I have a Vietnamese friend, and when he opens a can of coconut milk he scrapes Tue cream off the top and saves ot for other uses, maybe try that and just use the runny liquid underneath?
     
  10. french fries

    french fries

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    Order banh xeo at my local vietnamese eatery, and you will get: 

    - One plate with the banh xeo

    - One plate with lettuce, mint, purple mint, pickled daikon and carrots cucumber slices

    - Some peanut sauce

    - One plate with rice paper

    - One bowl warm water

    - Nuoc cham

    You dip the rice paper in warm water, fill it with a piece of banh xeo, herbs, peanut sauce, hot sauce, dip the whole thing in nuoc cham... it's delicious!

         
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  11. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    When she was first starting out, I ate at her restaurant numerous times and at that time it was my favorite restaurant in Sacto. Over the course of those dinners, I got to talk to her a bit. She seems pretty straight forward and honest so I have no doubt that is indeed her restaurant recipe.

    Some times restaurant recipes have "aha" factors that chefs take for granted and so forget to mention. At work today, I had a chance at closing to actually do the recipe and I noticed  a few "ahas" that I hadn't thought about before actually doing it because they are like second nature to me.

    When I initially made the batter, I used a stick blender ( better breaking up starches and incorporation of air). Strained batter through an etamine. Let batter rest for 30 minutes. Before using, added 2 tablespoons of water for final adjusting of consistency.

    Hope these "ahas" help. Crepes turned out great. Light, thin, and flipped no problem.
     
  12. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    When my mom makes this, we do a test one.  If it is too dry and cracked, we add more liquid. 

    I've seen restaurants here put so much oil that they are more fried and crispy.   I don't want that.  I want it to be soft like a crepe.  Scallions in the batter.  Start it on the stove with some thinly chopped onions, then pour the batter on. 
     
  13. french fries

    french fries

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    That's what I've been served around here. I thought that was the expected texture (since that's the only texture I know). I've never had a soft one, really...
     
  14. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Could be regional too.  South vs North vietnam.  Sweet nuoc cham or with lime and garlic etc.  There's a lot of variations, but originally the idea comes from the french crepe.
     
  15. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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  16. french fries

    french fries

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    Right!!?? Vietnamese restaurants in the U.S. are soooo limited. You typically get your noodle bowls, your rice bowls, your phos and banh mis, and cha gios (nems) that taste like egg rolls... and that's about it. 

    This discussion makes me crave a Vietnamese ice coffee with sweet condensed milk. 
     
  17. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback. Probably be a bit before I attempt the next batch.

    Millions, post more detailed threads and recipes and keep me motivated.
     
  18. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I was at the grocery store yesterday and saw coconut milk. I flashed on this thread and got nosy. I picked up several cans  to look at ingredients. Some brands list guar gum as an ingredient. It is used a lot as a stabilizer, but it also has thickening power. Around eight times the power of cornstarch, which could possibly explain the quick thickening when the batter hits the heat. Check out your coconut milk for guar gum on the ingredient list..
     
  19. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I used Chaokoh brand. So Coconut Extract, Water, Citric Acid, Sodium Metabisulphate  are the listed ingredients.
     
  20. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Yeah, right. like the French would have any influence on Vietnamese cooking.

    Seriously, there was this one place we used to go maybe 20 years or so back that had a nice variety of dishes, and many of them showed obvious French influence. We always tipped this one server a bit more, as she was so close to having saved up enough for a trip to Paris. They had a catfish in clay pot that was divine!

    mjb.