My Story behind the meal:
I hustled around an old lady pushing an old wooden cart brimming with bright pink prickly looking fruits, and stepped out just in time to dodge a motorbike flying by. My silver-spray painted flats gripped the crumbling concrete as I made my way to the infamous Banh Xeo man. The hostess woman motioned at an open table for us, and we squatted down to sit on the small plastic chairs used for toddlers back in America.
ASIAN CUISINE ROOTS:
OPTIONS FOR HOW TO COOK:
You may eat this dish as a salad: minced pork and onions and poached shrimp over a bed of mustard greens, romaine lettuce and herbs with the Vietnamese Nuoc Cham sauce, and the optional refried beans to make it an extra filling meal.
SUPER – BATCH METHOD: Banh Xeo is best fresh off the frying pan, so I wouldn’t suggest to make the actual crepe-tacos in bulk, however, you could prep all of the ingredients and freeze and have ready to put together in a flash anytime you get the craving! You could bulk prep-cook pork belly or pork mince and put in the freezer. Shrimp can be kept frozen. Dried mung beans and sprouted mung beans could even be frozen! You would need to make the “crepe” batter fresh, and you would need to buy all of the greens and herbs fresh.
IN A NUTSHELL – HOW WILL I BE MAKING THIS MAGIC HAPPEN?
Cook pork. Have shrimp ready (par-poach if you please). Mix and stir a batter, let sit for a few hours. Chop some onions and green onions. Wash some greens, herbs and mung bean sprouts. Soak some dried mung beans. Heat a pan with oil, add the meats and onions, add the batter and cook like a crepe until crispy. Fold in half like a wrap, roll into lettuce and dip and eat like a lettuce wrap.
- 1 Ib (500 g) de-veined shrimp
- 1½ lb (750 g) pork belly- minced OR pork mince
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 1 large shallot (or 2 small), minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 1-2 Bird’s eye chilies (depending on your spicy-level preference)
- 2-3 teaspoon turmeric (depending on color preference)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 130 gr rice flour (option to sub 30gr for all-purpose wheat flour)*
- 4 cups of water
- 400ml coconut milk
- 6-7 green onion scallions (chopped ~1cm pieces)
- 1 onion medium size, sliced thinly
- 500-750 gr bean sprouts
- 100 gr dried mung beans
- up to 5 T grapeseed oil
- 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (FIND YU- start with 1 T to test and add a little water to balance the flavor to your preference)
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (can substitute w/honey or sweetener of choice)
- 4 C Mustard Greens
- ½ C mint
- 1 C cilantro
- 1 C Vietnamese Perilla leaves (If you can find them! If not, just substitute more of the other herbs)
- Make the batter ahead: Combine all batter ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Clean/chop veggies: Steam or soak the mung beans in water until soft. Wash bean sprouts and vegetables and herbs. Thinly slice the onion and green onion scallions.
- Optional: Slightly poach the shrimp in hot water. It's optional because the shrimp will cook during the next steps, but some people like the assurance that it's cooked. You also may chop up the shrimp and spread throughout the pancake instead of keeping whole.
- Poach the pork belly with shallot and garlic in the water OR, if using pork mince, cook in a pan with the shallot and garlic and optional chicken bouillon cubes. Boil pork until cooked through, then slice thinly and mince into tiny pieces.
- Put 2 teaspoons oil in the pan, heat, and add 1-2 T chopped onions, some pork and a few shrimp. Stir and cook briefly (>1min)
- Pour in some batter and quickly tilt and rotate the pan so the batter is evenly spread. (Add more batter if it wasn't enough the cover the pan). Sprinkle on some scallions.
- Add some mung beans, bean sprouts and cover with a lid for 2-3 minutes, or until bean sprouts are slightly cooked.
- Remove the lid and check. The batter should be cooked and look a bit transparent around the edges. Lower the heat to medium and and wait for the crepe to become crisp. Fold in half and transfer to a plate, serve immediately.
- Optional: In the middle of the folded "crepe-taco," spread the optional refried beans and thinly sliced bell peppers.
- To eat, rip/cut off a piece of the "crepe-taco" and wrap a lettuce leave around it. Add some herbs and roll.
- Dip in the sauce or spoon some over your lettuce wrap/taco and enjoy!
OPTIONAL: Add 2 cubes of homemade chicken stock to the pork mince while it's cooking to add extra healthy gelatin and amino acids.
OPTIONAL: Add a few splashes of dark soy sauce to the Nuoc Cham! This is my Umami preference!