Heading Around The World To Discover Vietnamese Cuisine!
One of the things I enjoy most about my year-long cooking challenge is that I can go to places in the world where the food is uniquely different that what I usually have, and that’s certainly the case here!
For week #26 of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge, I return to Chef Yotam Ottolenghi – with another of his great cookbooks!
See Chef Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” Cookbook on the bottom? This cookbook includes more than 100 recipes from his weekly column in London’s The Guardian newspaper…a wide variety of vegetarian dishes that can have meat or seafood added as well!
Making A “Banh xeo” Vietnamese Pancake!
I imagine pancake as round, thick platters designed to absorb butter and maple syrup – but not in this case!
My wife Alex loved the way this “Banh xeo” looked in the book: a Vietnamese pancake with fresh herbs and vegetables stuffed in it, so we decided to give it a shot!
Here are the ingredients for the pancake batter:
1-1/3 cups rice flour – I used cassava flour
1 small egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1-3/4 cup canned coconut milk
a bit of sunflower oil – I used olive oil
Now, it was just a matter of mixing the egg, flour, turmeric and salt together, but as Alex filmed it, we had a conversation about why the coconut milk was two different colors!
OK, so the coconut milk had separated, but I used each one equally so all was good! Now you set the batter aside to rest while you make the sauce!
Here are the ingredients for the sauce that goes on the dish:
2-1/2 tbl. lime juice – I used Rose’s sweetened as dish also calls for 1 tbl. brown sugar which I didn’t add
1-1/2 tbl. toasted sesame oil
1 tbl. rice wine vinegar
1 tbl. soy sauce
2 tsp. grated ginger
1 garlic close crushed – I used 6 because I love garlic!
1 tsp. red Chile flakes – or used a diced red chile
1/2 tsp. salt
I love fresh grated ginger so I added a bit more – the “Jazz Cook” in me! Stir this all together and set aside, and it’s time to make the pancake filling!
Here are the ingredients:
1 large shredded carrrot
1 diced daikon radish
4 green onions, sliced vertically
I small can of green chiles
1-1/2 cup snow peas,
1/2 cup chopped brown mushrooms
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup each thai basil and cilantro
As you can see, everything is fresh and vegetarian – however. you can add pork or shrimp to this dish as well, whatever fits your lifestyle!
Now, let’s make some pancakes!
OK, this is the easy part: add the oil to a frying pan and add a quarter of the batter, swirling it around to make it 9-10 inches across…once the underside is golden brown, flip it for another 2 minutes and set aside….
Lay the pancake down and fill on side with fresh vegetables and sauce, then fold the pancake partially over, and here is what I ended up with and what it looked like in the cookbook:
As I didn’t have a diced Chile I missed a bit of the red color, but after adding the shredded carrots and herbs on top, it looked pretty good!
As for the taste? Fresh and delicious! The sauce really helps the vegetables pop, and while this was done vegetarian style, some grilled shrimp not here would have been delicious as well!
I really enjoy Chef Ottolonghi’s cooking, and had a blast making something a few weeks ago from his “Shelf / Love” cookbook as well:
This “one pot” crispy spaghetti and chicken dish makes use of stuff you have in your refrigerator and on your shelves!
Click here to see how much fun it was to cook in a single pot together!
And I also loved loved loved this dish:
This pulled pork pasta with almond cream sauce was delicious…see the recipe here:
This recipe came from a TV show I produced. Michael Ruhlman was one of my terrific Judges on “Cooking Under Fire”, and I’ve already cooked from one of his terrific books:
Ruhlman’s “Egg” cookbook is incredible, but I almost butchered his “Crispy Mollet Egg With Asparagus” recipe – click here to see how I salvaged it:
This was week #26 of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge, so much more to come!
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