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.
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