Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vietnamese Sizzling Crêpes (Banh Xeo)

I'm going to my favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner tonight instead of having the usual Thanksgiving meal, so I decided to make lunch at home. There's just something about the holidays that makes me want to eat home-cooked meals. In my ongoing effort to cook different things, I decided to tackle the bánh xèo, translated as sizzling crêpes. Like many other Vietnamese dishes, I've watched my sisters make these numerous times but have never made them myself because the idea of making crêpes seems like a daunting task. I don't like to work with flour (that's why I don't bake) and can't even flip an omelette. Surprisingly, this dish is super easy to make and requires no flipping. :)

Crêpe batter:

  • 1 bag of crêpe mix (Vietnamese Golden Bells)
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 13.5 fl oz (400 ml) can unsweetened coconut milk (Chaokoh)
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced on bias

Crêpe filling:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 12 shrimps, peeled & halved lengthwise
  • 4 oz Vietnamese lean pork sausage, julienned
  • 6 buttons mushrooms, sliced
  • fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 Persian lime, juiced
  • 4 big garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 bird’s eye chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce


  • 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1 small European seedless cucumber, julienned
  • handful of mint
  • handful of cilantro
  • handful of shallot crisps

Pour crêpe mix along with coconut milk, water and scallions into a bowl and stir well. Set aside.

Place a skillet on high heat and drizzle with oil. Throw in shallots and toss until fragrant. Add mushrooms and sauté for a minute and then add shrimp and pork sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the dressing, bring water to a boil and dissolve sugar. When sugar is dissolved completely, pour this simple syrup into a small bowl to cool. Once cool, add the lime juice, garlic, chili peppers and fish sauce and stir together.

To make the crêpe, heat up a large non-stick pan with a drizzle of olive oil. When oil is hot enough, ladle in the batter and swirl pan to make a thin layer. When the edges of the crêpe pulls away from the pan and the bottom turns a golden brown, place a heaping spoon of filling close to center and fold the crêpe over to make a half circle. Let it finish cooking for another minute or so and transfer to plate. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of shallot crisps and side of salad and dressing.


I like to cook my crêpes in this order because I find it easier for me to cook while enjoying the meal with everyone else at the table. If you are not eating, then a better way to do this is to sauté only enough filling for a single crêpe and then ladle the batter over it.


SteamyKitchen said...

I love Vietnamese Crepes!

kimmy said...

Hey, tia
linked to your site via OSF. I love those too. I had them this weekend. My mums cambodian and she calls them 'banh chiau', i don't know if that's the same, but she explained to me it called that because of the sound the crepes make when you ladle in the batter in the wok... i don't know. but who cares because I love to eat them

Tia said...

Yes, the Vietnamese word, xèo, is an onomatopoeia. It describes the initial sizzling that sounds as an ingredient hits a hot skillet. Thank you for sharing that interesting tidbit about the Cambodian language. There are so many wonderful things to learn from enjoying food! :)

Anonymous said...

you said to add 1 can of unsweeten coconut. there are 2 sizes (the small and big) which one?

Tia said...

Sorry about that! I just edited the recipe to clarify the size. It's the bigger can (13.5 oz). Cheers ;)