During my trip to Vietnam, nothing made me happier than a banh xeo recipe - Vietnamese stuffed rice pancakes (or crepes, to be exact). The golden and crispy wraps are rich with coconut flavor and are light to eat. And the play of textures…the succulent pork belly, the juicy shrimp, the crunch of all those delicious and colorful veggies. And the flavor bomb...the freshness of the herbs, the tang of the lime juice, and the incredible funk of the nuoc cham sauce (Vietnamese number 1 dipping sauce).
Easy Crispy Vietnamese Crepes Recipe
Bánh xèo… What does banh xeo taste like? Honestly, it's the food not only to be tasted but also to be heard. Walking down the streets of Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, if you listen carefully, between the busy traffic of these beautiful cities, you can hear the sound the rice batter makes when it's poured into a hot skillet. And the crunch you make when you bite into the banh xeo…No wonder it's also called the "happy pancake"!
Missing those vibrant experiences in Vietnam, I tried to recreate the perfect banh xeo recipe back home. The perfect one. The sound. The taste. The texture. And the happiness it gives.
Crispy Banh Xeo Recipe Ingredients
What is banh xeo batter made of?
- 1 ¼ cups rice flour - Rice flour is essential to create that crispy banh xeo crust. And it happens to be gluten-free! Use 1¼ cups to make 6-8 wraps, and easily double and triple the recipe if you're throwing a party.
- 2 tbsp cornstarch - I use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to give my preferred texture.
- 2 teaspoon turmeric - Yes, turmeric powder! It's the key to the signature golden hue in the banh xeo recipe wrap. I use 2 teaspoons for my recipe. Please note: however pale you think your batter looks, resist adding more. Trust me; it'll darken as the batter is left to rest. Also, we don't want to overpower the dish with turmeric flavor.
- Pinch of salt - Don't forget a pinch of salt, guys! This little extra ingredient is what makes your banh xeo recipe wrap superior.
- 1 can 400ml | 14oz coconut cream - Coconut cream will give that magic to your banh xeo wrap. It's sweet, savory, creamy, and so fragrant… gosh! But don't worry… If you can't find coconut cream, or it's too rich for your liking, you can substitute it with regular coconut milk.
- 1½ cups water - You'll need to add water to thin out the banh xeo batter. Don't freak out… Runny batter means you're on the right track. The batter will sizzle and create that crackling effect once you pour it into a hot pan.
- 2 scallions | spring onions | green onions - Scallions in banh xeo batter are optional (you can sprinkle some over the finished dish instead if you prefer). I add a handful of thinly sliced scallions for mine.
- Pork belly - You need about 8 slices of cooked pork belly slices to make an authentic banh xeo recipe. The savory flavor, the juicy interior… who can resist this succulent cut of meat? I know I can't! However, that's not saying you can't choose whatever protein you want for your banh xeo, from beef to lamb, chicken to turkey, and eggs to tofu. The options are endless!
- Shrimp - I love fresh shrimp, but you can also use high-quality frozen shrimp. For this recipe, use about 16 peeled and cooked shrimp in total. They'll give that sweetness and extra Vietnamese flavor to your banh xeo.
- Assorted vegetables - Not just for the flavor and nutrients, veggies give extra crunch to banh xeo. Opt for 2 cups of bean sprouts, 4 lettuce leaves roughly chopped, and 2 julienned carrots for the most authentic combo. But you can experiment with shredded cabbage, cucumber, or even microgreens. Since we're not going to cook these veggies, wash them thoroughly under running water and spin or pat them dry.
- Herbs - Herbs are another key element for a banh xeo recipe to give that extra freshness. For mine, cilantro (coriander) and mint. Have a bunch of each on hand. They are my musts, though you can leave out the cilantro if you don't like the taste. You can also add Thai basil if you can find some in your local Asian grocer.
- Lime - Always serve your banh xeo with a wedge of lime. The tang balances out everything beautifully.
Here are the ingredients for the banh xeo recipe dipping sauce - nuoc cham sauce:
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce - It's the primary flavor source of your nuoc cham dipping sauce. So, choose the best you can get. Just a little tip… if you feel a little bit intimidated by the funk, you might want to choose the one with a lighter color. The lighter fish sauce is usually milder in taste and aroma as it's not been aged for too long.
- 3 tbsp lime juice - Banh xeo sauce is never complete without lime for the perfect balance of saltiness, tanginess, and sweetness.
- 3 tbsp white sugar - Dilute the sugar into the warm water; it'll make your life easier. And you also need the water to tone down the saltiness of the fish sauce.
- ½ tsp garlic - Finely chop the garlic. And use the fresh one for this, please; you need the punchy aroma and sharp allicin flavor.
- 1 tsp red chili - Ah yes! Finely chopped red chili! You can deseed your chili to tone down the spice level, or even leave it out if you're making banh xeo for your kids. But for me, firey nuoc cham sauce is the best!
- 3 tablespoon warm water
Best Banh Xeo Recipe - Instructions
How to Make Banh Xeo Batter? Combine all the dry batter ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut cream and water. Whisk until smooth. Add the sliced scallions/spring onions. Set the bowl aside for one hour.
While resting the batter, combine all the nuoc cham sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
While resting the batter, also prepare the vegetables and herbs.
Cook the Crepe and Assemble the Banh Xeo
- Heat an 8-inch (20cm) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the pork belly slices and shrimp for a few minutes until heated. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and heat. Pour in a thin layer of batter. Quickly swirl the pan to spread evenly on the base and up the sides. You'll immediately hear that sizzling sound! Lower the heat to medium and cook, with the lid on, for 3 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook for 3 minutes or until the base looks golden and crispy.
- Scatter the pork, shrimp, veggies, and herbs over half of the wrap. Fold in half and transfer to a serving plate.
- Repeat with extra batter and ingredients.
- Serve with the nuoc cham sauce and a wedge of lime.
Troubleshooting the Batter
How do you Make Vietnamese Pancakes Crispy?
- THIN BATTER - Banh xeo recipe batter should be extra thin - slightly thinner than a regular French crepe batter.
- REST THE BATTER - Rest the banh xeo batter for at least 20 minutes. It'll maximize the crispy crepe texture and crunch. Got 1 hour? Even better! And while you're waiting, you can prep your veggies and dipping sauce.
- HOT PAN - For banh xeo recipe crispy, always pour the batter of the banh xeo mix into a smoking hot pan. If it sizzles like crazy, you know you're getting it right, as banh xeo loosely translates to the sizzling cake.
- THINLY COAT PAN - Don't pour in too much batter; just enough to thinly coat the pan. That way, you'll minimize the risk of a broken banh xeo wrap.
- LID ON - The steam helps to cook the batter and makes the crunchy crepes flexible enough to be folded without breaking.
- NOT TOO MUCH FILLING - Don't overcrowd your rice pancake Vietnamese with the filling. A slice of pork belly, two pieces of shrimp, a couple of tablespoons of veggies, and some sprigs of herbs are enough.
Banh Xeo Filling Substitutes
- Pork loin - If you are worried about the fat content of pork belly but still want the porkiness, use the loin for your banh xeo. The loin is the area between the shoulders and back legs; it's one of the animal's leanest and most tender parts.
- Beef - Beef is my second personal favorite for banh xeo ingredients filling. Choose a cooked tender beef cut.
- Chicken - Breast or thigh, skin-on or skinless, you can use whatever you want.
- Any leftovers - This banh xeo recipe is great for using up all those leftovers. Think of lamb, rotisserie chicken, or Thanksgiving turkey. Just shred the meat and toss it in a hot pan with the shrimp to heat through.
- Vegan banh xeo and vegetarian banh xeo - It's pretty simple to make the vegetarian and vegan version of this crispy Vietnamese pancakes recipe. You can use a combination of fried tofu and sauteed mushrooms for the filling. And for the sauce, swap out the fish sauce with an equal amount of light soy sauce. Yes, it's that easy!
Banh Xeo Recipe FAQs
Why is Banh Xeo Called Banh Xeo?
Banh xeo is called banh xeo as the word banh in Vietnamese means cake (crepe, pancake), and the xeo word is the sizzling sound that the batter makes when it hits the hot pan.
What is banh xeo in English? - Sizzling pancake! Great name, right?!
How do you Make Banxeo?
There are three main parts to making any Vietnamese pancakes recipes: the batter, the filling, and the nuoc cham sauce. I like to make my batter first, and while it is resting for 60 minutes, I prep the veggies and make the nuoc cham sauce. This way, when the crepes are cooked, I have all the filling ingredients and sauce ready to go.
What are Vietnamese Pancakes Made of?
What is banh xeo made out of? A Vietnamese pancake recipe is made from a batter-cooked crepe consisting of rice flour, cornstarch, turmeric, salt, and coconut cream. Slices of cooked pork belly and shrimp, crunchy sliced vegetables, and the freshness of herbs are added to the cooked crepe. The banh xeo Vietnamese crepe recipe is served with nuoc cham sauce, a combination of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chili. Authentic, easy to make, and delicious.
How to Make Banh Xeo Mix?
To make the Vietnamese crepe banh xeo batter combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl with the coconut cream and whisk until smooth. Set aside for at least one hour.
Is Banh Xeo Made of Eggs?
Banh Xeo may look a little bit like an omelet, but it does not contain eggs. The batter is simply rice flour, cornstarch, turmeric, salt, coconut cream, and water.
What Makes Banh Xeo Yellow?
The banh xeo crepe looks yellow in color due to the ground turmeric added to the batter. This is why some people refer to Vietnamese rice flour crepes as 'yellow pancakes' or 'yellow pancake Vietnamese.'
Turmeric is also added to other Vietnamese dishes, such as Cha Ca La Vong. This dish originated from Hanoi and features fresh fish marinated in turmeric, dill, and sauteed scallions. The cooked fish is served with vermicelli noodles, roasted peanuts, and also nuoc cham sauce.
Why is my Banh Xeo Not Crispy?
Here is how to make banh xeo extra crispy:
- RICE FLOUR - Check that the rice flour you use is standard white rice flour. There are other rice flour varieties, such as brown rice flour and sweet rice flour, but they won't result in such a crispy banh xeo recipe.
- REST THE BATTER - It is a good idea to rest your banh xeo batter for as long as possible. I would say that 20 minutes is the minimum, with 30 to 60 minutes ideal.
- THIN BATTER - How to make banh xeo crispy? The batter should have a thinner consistency than a French crepe batter. This thin batter will help in making a crispy banh xeo recipe.
- THIN LAYER - Only pour a thin layer of the banh xeo recipe batter into the pan. Just thinly coat the pan with the batter.
- HOT PAN - How to make banh xeo really crispy? Always ensure that the frying pan you use has been heated up. Without this, you won't get that sizzle sound that the batter makes when it hits the hot pan, and the crepe won't be crispy.
- LID ON - Only keep the lid on the pan for the necessary time. Otherwise, condensation can drop from the lid back into the pan, causing the banh xeo to soften.
How to Store the Leftover Batter?
If you make too much banh xeo recipe batter, here's the good news… You can store the leftover batter overnight. Simply transfer the batter to an air-tight container and pop it into the refrigerator. When you miss that crackling banh xeo sound the next day, make some more... A quick but fancy breakfast or a no-hassle delicious lunch!
Can you Make Banh Xeo Without Coconut Milk?
In some parts of Vietnam, they replace the coconut cream in the Vietnamese pancake mix with water. This makes crispy crepes more subtle in taste but just as good. You can also substitute the coconut cream with different types of milk, such as regular cow's milk or plant-based milk.
How do you Heat up Banh Xeo?
If you make too many banh xeo crepes, you can store them in the fridge until you're ready to eat them. To reheat, place the crepe on a wire rack in the oven at 212°F (100°C) until warm. Alternatively, heat the crepe in a frying pan on low heat until warm.
Where did Banh Xeo Originate From?
Where is Banh Xeo From?
Banh xeo is a traditional Vietnamese dish. Today, banh xeo is enjoyed by people in many parts of Vietnam as well as all over the world.
Is Banh Xeo French Influence?
Banh xeo pancake is inspired by French cuisine, notably a French pancake or crepe. One of the significant differences is that a banh xeo Vietnamese rice pancake contains no eggs. The Vietnamese rice crepe banh xeo also has a crispy shell, is always savory, and never sweet like a French crepe.
Is Banh Knot and Banh Xeo the Same?
Banh khot vs banh xeo - Banh knot and banh xeo are not the same dishes, but they are both very popular in Vietnam. Banh xeo is a large-sized crepe filled with a generous filling of pork and shrimp, vegetables, and herbs. On the other hand, banh knots are mini cakes made of a crispy golden batter topped with a shrimp and onion mixture with a coconut cream sauce.
Is Banh Khot batter the same as Banh Xeo?
Banh knot batter is very similar to the banh xeo batter recipe. Both batters contain rice flour, turmeric, salt, coconut cream, and water. The only difference is that the banh xeo batter often has cornstarch, and the banh knot batter does not.
How to Eat Vietnamese Crepe?
How to eat banh xeo? In Vietnam, I saw many people eating banh xeo by putting crepes into a lettuce leaf. They would then roll it up (kind of like a DIY spring roll) and dip it into the banh xeo dipping sauce: the nuoc cham sauce. Other parts of Vietnam served banh xeo rice papers! Regardless of which way you choose to eat your banh xeo Vietnam wrap, they will be delicious!
Banh Xeo Recipe - In Conclusion
Being so versatile and easy to make, you can make and eat my banh xeo recipe every single day! Well, I know I've done that for a week straight. With different kinds of filling combinations, of course! 😉
Banh Xeo Recipe
- 1 8-inch (20cm) non-stick skillet or frying pan
- 1 ¼ cups rice flour
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 can coconut cream (14oz/400ml)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 scallions | green onions | spring onions finely sliced
- 8 slices pork belly cooked
- 16 shrimp cooked and shelled
- 2 cups beansprouts
- 2 carots peeled and julienned
- 4 lettuce leaves roughly chopped
- 1 bunch mint leaves picked
- 1 bunch cilantro (coriander) leaves picked
- 1 lime
Nuoc Cham Sauce
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce
- 3 tablespoon lime juice
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon red chili finely chopped
- 3 tablespoon warm water
- Combine all the dry batter ingredients together in a bowl.
- Add the coconut cream and water and whisk until smooth. Add the sliced scallions and combine.
- Set the crepe batter aside for 1 hour.
- In the meantime, combine all the ingredients for the nuoc cham dipping sauce in a bowl. Stir together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- Also, prepare all of your vegetables and herbs.
- Heat an 8-inch (20cm) non-stick skillet or frypan over medium-high heat. Add a few pieces of the shrimp and pork and cook for a few minutes until heated. Set aside.
- Heat 1 teasppoon of oil in the pan and pour in some batter. Quickly swirl the pan so that the batter is evenly spread on the base and up the sides. Lower the temperature to medium and cook with the lid on for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for a further 3 minutes or until the crepe looks crispy and golden.
- Scatter half of the crepe with pork belly, shrimp, bean sprouts, carrots, lettuce, and herbs.
- Fold in half.
- Serve immediately with a wedge of lime and the nuoc cham sauce. Repeat with extra batter and ingredients.
- The banh xeo batter should be quite thin. It should be slightly thinner compared to a regular French crepe batter.
- Rest the banh xeo batter for approximately one hour. It’ll maximize the crunch.
- If you are short on time rest the banh xeo batter for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- While you are waiting for the batter to rest prepare the dipping sauce and the vegetables.
- Always heat the oil before you pour in the batter. You want to hear that sizzle sound when the batter hits the oil!
- Pour in enough batter to just thinly coat the pan. Don't overdo it otherwise, you'll risk the crepe being too thick and it won't fold over.
- Putting the lid on the frying pan allows the steam to build up which both cooks the batter and also keeps the banh xeo nice and flexible for folding at the end.
- Don’t add too much filling to your banh xeo otherwise, it will be too full to fold over.