We sort-of made Vietnamese Pancakes twice while we were in Vietnam. I use ‘sort-of’ to describe the experience as a lot of the tricky bits had been done ahead of time, and all we had to do was fry them up, although that was tricky as well.
The resulting pancakes were light, crispy and tasty, filled with lettuce, mixed herbs, bean sprouts, pork and shrimp, perfect for the hot weather. In our class the pancakes were wrapped in a moistened rice wrapper with a twist of cilantro.
For the batter, our instructor Ms. Vy had soaked both white rice and mung beans overnight, and then had them ground by hand into a puree. Other ingredients in the batter included coconut milk, turmeric, salt and chopped green onions.
These are the fillings for one pancake (clockwise): a handful of bean sprouts, a handful of mixed herbs, slices of green banana and starfruit (maybe), two shrimp and a thin slice of pork. The Vietnamese dipping sauce in the middle is for later, to dip the pancake into once it is finished.
The shrimp and pork were lightly fried in oil and then the batter added. I’ve tried, so far somewhat unsuccessfully, to make these pancakes at home. The batter was too thick and none of our fry pans worked. When I complained to Al he said, “Of course they don’t work, you need a crepe pan to cook them in.”
All our fry pans are heavy, designed to distribute heat slowly and evenly, whereas a fry pan suitable for crepes is made of thin steel and heats up quickly. So I will have to wait until I get a working fry pan before I try this recipe again.
The pancakes were served with a sweet and spicy Vietnamese dipping sauce consisting of 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, 4 Tbsp. water, 1 tsp. sugar, garlic slices, red birdseye chile slices and bits of carrot.
The second time we made these pancakes was while we were on a home stay in the Mekong Delta. The pancake was the same; the filling was very different, the result Vietnamese comfort food. Despite the fact that it was quite dark out, the video showed quite clearly the technique for making these pancakes.
More on Ms Vy’s Morning Glory Cooking Class
- Vietnamese-style breakfast/brunch items
- A Visit to a Bean Sprout ‘Garden’
- An Organic Herb Garden
- How They Make the Famous (and Secret) Cau Lao Noodles
- Weird and Wacky Street Foods