Bánh Bèo: Steamed rice pancakes with minced shrimp and mung beans

Vietnamese people love to snack throughout the day so street food in Viet Nam is ubiquitous and varies depending on the region. Bánh bèo is a really good example of this. They are tiny steamed pancakes made with rice and tapioca batter then topped with mashed mung beans/fried green onions/croutons/minced shrimp/shredded pork or crispy pork rinds. In the northern region of Viet Nam, bánh bèo is topped with ground pork. In central Viet Nam, especially in Huế, the pancakes are thinner and topped with minced shrimp and and served in the bowls they were steamed in. Unlike their counterparts, the Southern version is thicker and topped with mung beans, green onions, shredded pork or minced shrimp. What completes the dish is the sauce that it’s served with called nước mắm chấm (fermented fish sauce, garlic, chilies, vinegar, lime, sugar). The sauce it spicy and sweet, sour and salty making it a harmonious combination for something really delicate like the pancakes. Staying true to my hereditary roots, I’m going to show you how to make the southern version. It’s so flavorful and fun to make! image

To start, mix rice, oil, salt and tapioca flour with water and whisk until there are no more clumps and let sit overnight or for at least 1 hour. The longer the batter rests, the better the texture of the pancake!

batter

batter

Fill the bottom part of your steamer with water and bring to a medium low boil.

Vietnamese steamer

Vietnamese steamer

Soak your mung beans water and drain. Repeat several times until the water is clear. Then add more water with mung beans in a pot and bring to a medium boil.

mung beans

mung beans

Cook until tender.

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Blend the beans in the food processor until it forms a smooth paste then set aside to cool.

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Add shrimp to the food processor and pulse until it forms a paste like mixture.

minced shrimp in the making

minced shrimp in the making

Dice and sautee shallots and garlic in a little oil

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Add the shrimp, garlic, fish sauce, and pepper.

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The liquid will cook off and should look like this!

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Add some oil to the chopped green onions and microwave for 1 minute.

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Lightly grease the muffin tin and ladle batter 1/4″ of the tin. Cover and steam for 5 minutes and carefully remove with oven mitts. Use a knife to remove the cooked pancakes. Like this!

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Once you get the edge, the rest should come out easily.

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Aren’t they so cute? You know you did it right if there’s a small dimple in the center.

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Smear a little bit of mung bean paste, add minced shrimp, green onions and serve with the sauce.

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Batter

  • 7 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 lb white rice flour
  • 5 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegeetable oil

Toppings

  • 2 cups of chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 pound of cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined,
  • 1 cup of shallots
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 cup of mung beans and 3 cups of water.
  1. To start, mix rice, oil, salt and tapioca flour with water and whisk until there are no more clumps and let sit overnight or for at least 1 hour. The longer the batter rests, the better the texture of the pancake!
  2. Fill the bottom part of your steamer with water and bring to a medium low boil.
  3. Soak your mung beans in 2 cups of water and drain. Repeat several times until the water is clear. Then add 3 more cups of water with mung beans in a pot and bring to a medium boil. Cook until tender.
  4. Blend the beans in the food processor until it forms a smooth paste then set aside to cool.
  5. Add shrimp to the food processor and pulse until it forms a paste like mixture.
  6. Dice and sautee shallots and garlic in a little oil
  7. Add the shrimp, garlic, fish sauce, and pepper.
  8. The liquid will cook off and the shrimp should look coarse.
  9. Add some oil to the chopped green onions and microwave for 1 minute.
  10. Lightly grease the muffin tin and ladle batter 1/4″ of the tin. Cover and steam for 5 minutes and carefully remove with oven mitts. Use a knife to remove the cooked pancakes.
  11. Once you get the edge, the rest should come out easily. You know you did it right if there’s a small dimple in the center.
  12. Smear a little bit of mung bean paste, add minced shrimp, green onions and serve with the sauce.

Bánh Cuốn Thanh Trì

Buckle up readers, we’re headed to the northern region of Viet Nam to Thanh Trì.  Thanh Trì is the district of the prominent city of Hanoi, famous for one dish called Bánh Cuốn. They are thin crepes made from rice and tapioca flour batter and is cooked over a non-stick steaming tray then stuffed with minced garlicky pork and mushrooms, and topped with fried green onions and shallots and dipped in a tangy sauce called nước mắm pha. It’s delicious and fun to make!

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Recipe yields 3-4 servings

Batter

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil

Filling

  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of wood ear dried mushroom (soak with hot water for 5 minutes and drain)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Accoutrements

  • sautéed green scallions in vegetable oil
  • crispy fried shallots
  • sliced pork sausage (chả lụa or giò lụa)
  • blanched bean sprouts
  • nước mắm pha
  • 1/4 cup of cooking oil and brush

 

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, water, oil, and salt and mix until there are no longer clumps. Allow batter to bloom and rest for at least 1 hour before using.

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In a sauté pan heat oil over medium heat then brown pork until no longer pink. Add in garlic, salt, and black pepper.

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Add in the wood ear mushrooms and stir then set aside to cool.

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Fill a small boiling pot until 1/2 filled with water. Bring the water to a boil on medium heat. Then set a nonstick pan over the boiling pot (this will be your steamer). Using a brush, lightly grease your pan with a few drops of oil.

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Ha! Instant Crepe Steamer!

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Stir the batter and using a ladle, add about 1/4 cup of batter at a time to pan and swirl until the bottom of pan is covered. Cover with lid and allow to steam for 30-45 seconds. Remove and invert crepes into a tray.

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This is how I like to set up: raw batter near the stove, filling, tray for rolling, and a plate for the finished product.

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Add a tablespoon of the pork and mushroom mixture, and fold and set aside. My favorite way to fold these is somewhat like an eggroll. Fold the front flap over..

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Then fold in the left and right flaps..

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Roll it towards the top to seal in the filling and move it to a serving plate. Now repeat until there is no batter left behind!

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You can serve it plain and leave the toppings on the side..

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Or  you can go crazy and put it all on there! I hoped you enjoyed making these. Happy eating!

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Let’s Get Cooking!

  1. In a large bowl, combine both flours, water, oil, and salt and mix until there are no longer clumps. Allow batter to bloom and rest for at least 1 hour before using.
  2. In a sauté pan heat oil over medium heat then brown pork until no longer pink. Add in garlic, salt, and pepper and the wood ear mushrooms and stir then set aside to cool.
  3. Fill a small boiling pot until 1/2 filled with water. Bring the water to a boil on medium heat. Then set a nonstick pan over the boiling pot (this will be your steamer). Using a brush, lightly grease your pan with a few drops of oil.
  4. Stir the batter. and using a ladle, add 1/4 cup of batter to pan and swirl until the bottom of pan is covered. Cover with lid and allow to steam for 30-45 seconds. Remove and invert crepes into a tray.
  5. Add a tablespoon of the pork and mushroom mixture, and fold and set aside. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until no more batter is left.
  6. Arrange the rice crepes on a plate and sprinkle with fried shallots, green onions, pork sausage, and bean sprouts. Serve with nước mắm pha on the side.

Steak Fingers with Peppered Gravy

I looooooooooove steak fingers! Brings me back to childhood. We were able to make these delicious steak fingers gluten-free by substituting with Bob’s Mill All-Purpose gluten-free flour and adding the same flour to make the gravy. So tasty!

Gluten-free steak fingers with peppered gravy

Gluten-free steak fingers with peppered gravy

Yields 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds of round steak, tenderized and cut into 1 inch strips
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Gravy

  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and 1/2 cup of milk together.
  3. Dip strips of steak in the flour mixture and coat then dip in the egg mixture and dip one last time in the flour. Dust off excess and set aside.
  4. Heat oil on medium high heat and cook strips until browned on both sides. Remove a plate lined with paper towels.
  5. Pour the pan grease off pan but reserve about 2 tablespoons. Return pan to medium heat and add in butter then 1 tablespoon flour. Stir in remaining milk and add fresh cracked pepper. Whisk until there are no more clumps. Plate steak fingers and serve with gravy. I also like these with mashed potatoes! <3

No-churn Chai Banana Ice Cream

I’ve been wanting to make homemade ice cream but I didn’t want to add another bulky appliance to my very small kitchen. I read a few recipes online for some basic no-churn recipes but I really wanted to experiment with unusual flavors that I think could go well (see my crazy list below). I wish I’d known about this method earlier. It’s super easy to make. The only difficult part is waiting until you can eat it!

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No-churn Chai Banana Ice cream

No-churn Chai Banana Ice cream

Chai Banana is the first no-churn ice cream that Daniel and I made. We steeped chai tea bags in hot milk and folded in whipped cream and pureed bananas. Then we froze the mixture for 6 hours before eating. The taste was awesome! You can definitely taste the spices in the tea and the condensed milk added the perfect amount of sweetness. I’d totally make this again.

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 chai tea bags
  • 2 recipe bananas
  • 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Bring 1/2 cup of milk to a simmering boil and steep chai tea bags for 5 minutes and cool. Puree bananas in food processor and mix in 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk.
  2. Whisk heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold in chai tea mixture and pureed bananas so that no streaks remain and the mixture looks uniform throughout.
  3. Move to a large tupperware container, cover, and freeze for 6 hours before consuming.

Banana Cupcakes + Chocolate Avocado Ganache

Banana Cupcakes + Chocolate Avocado Ganache has got to be one of the strangest desserts I’ve ever made yet it is so satisfying, gluten-free, and chocolatey.

Banana cupcakes + avocado ganache

Banana cupcakes + avocado ganache

Yields 12 cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened grated coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  2. Mix flax meal and 3 tablespoons of hot water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken. This will be your egg replacement.
  3. In your mixer using a wire whisk, mix bananas, brown sugar, vinegar, and vanilla for 3 minutes. Turn mixer off and combine the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Line a 12 muffin pan with cupcake liners and spoon batter up to 3/4 the way to top. Bake for 20 minutes. (Low and slow will guarantee a moist cupcake!)

 

Icing Hass avocado

  • 2 teaspoons Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In another mixing bowl, beat avocado pulp until very mushy. Slowly add cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat for a good 5 minutes. Allow to cool in the fridge so that the icing can thicken. When the icing is ready, you can add it to a piping bag and swirl it on top of each cupcake. Enjoy!  136 calories 24g carbs 4g fat 2g protein 2g fiber 13g sugar per cupcake

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I know that Fall is coming to Texas when the morning breeze is suddenly brisk and the air is much more humid. People are already putting up Halloween decorations and then I realize 2014 is already 3/4 over. I begin to crave for seasonal Fall treats like these pumpkin cheesecake bars which I rarely make because they’re so delicious and addicting. It’s probably a good thing I don’t make them all the time. The base of this treat is an oatmeal and flour crust and the filling is a combination of fresh grated ginger, pumpkin, and cinnamon with whipped cream cheese. I could just eat the filling by the bowl. Please don’t be like me. It taste like pumpkin pie ice cream! I can’t wait for you to try these. You’re going to love the creaminess of the filling and the chewy buttery texture of the crust.

gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake bars

gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake bars

Recipe yields 9 bars

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

Filling

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking sheet with 2 sheets of parchment with extra on the ends.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, blend first 4 ingredients until coarse meal forms. Add oats and mix with your hands until mixture is moistened but not clumping.
  3. Press crust onto bottom pan lined with parchment.
  4. Bake crust until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.

Filling:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time. Then add in remaining filling ingredients.
  2. Spread filling over baked crust; bake until set, dry in center, and beginning to rise at edges, about 20 minutes.
  3. Cover and chill until cold, about 4 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

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