Banh Xeo Rice Pancakes

Banh xeo is a speciality of the South. The main ingredient is rice flour mixed with coconut essence, turmeric powder, and some other ingredients. The pacake is spread on a big hot pan, heated by a fire from dense wood or dense coal giving little smoke. The person who prepares the cake must have a “quick hand” and the ability to estimate the time necessary for the cake to evenly thin and srisp.

                                                   

     The pancake is a little smaller than the outer brim of a conical palm hat, very thin, and yellowish. In the middle is a browned meat filling (chicken, pork) with a small cut egg, bean sprouts, and chopped green onion.

     When cooked pancakes are folded up, they are put on a big dish, separated from one another by banana leaves.

                                                

     The banh xeo are accompanied with a dish of fresh vegetables and a little bowl of sauce reddened by red pepper. The vegetables include lettuce, basil, and other scented leaves. The chosen fish sauce is deeply scented. Red pepper and garlic are very finely pounded and mixed with while sugar. Then, lemon slices and some cut sour cabbage are added to the mixture. This sauce is hot (like pepper), sweet, and scented.

     This dish eaten with the hand, as this is the only way to truly appreciate all of the qualities of banh xeo.

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