When I told my mom that I had started cooking a lot and showed her what I made, she got curious and asked me how to make this and that. Many of the Vietnamese dishes I made were so readily available in Vietnam that we never bothered making any, so even a dish as simple as xôi xéo surprised us when we had to assemble the ingredients ourselves. It was a lot of fun getting to know familiar foods I had every day in Vietnam, so I urged my mom to do likewise.
Even so, knowing that she’d rather buy the food than make it, I never would have thought she’d look up recipes, or even send me some! She bombarded my mailbox with recipes and tutorials on how to make bánh cuốn, her excitement almost childlike. I usually just buy the wrapping (bánh) at an Asian grocery store and make the fillings, but I gave in to her this time.
Here’s a recipe that I came up with after trying multiple recipes without being happy with any of them. It’s basically a modification of the other various recipes, and I like to make the cre6pe very thin, so if you like it thick, just reduce the water.
210g rice flour
70g tapioca flour (if not using a scale, just make sure the ratio between rice flour/tapioca flour is 3/1. This will yield a softer crêpe, if you want it to be more on the elastic/chewy side, the 2/1 ratio will do.)
700g warm water (if you use a bowl – small in size, about the size of your hand, to measure the flour, the water will be 3 times the combination of the 2 types of flour. Say, 1 bowl of rice flour & 1/3 bowl of tapioca flour => 4 bowls of warm water)
1 white/yellow onion, diced
3-4 woodear mushrooms, julliened (if buying dried ones, soak the mushroom for about 2 hours)
7 oz ground pork
Canola/Vegetable oil, salt, pepper, sugar, fish sauce (if using)
– Sauté the onion until fragrant and soft
-Sauté the meat over high heat, seasoning with a little bit of fish sauce, salt to taste, and a pinch of sugar.
-When the meat turns pale pink, add the mushroom. Stir constantly until meat is done and mushroom shrinks a little bit. Sprinkle in freshly ground pepper.
– Before cooking the fillings, mix the flours with a pinch of salt and the water and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
-Brush your medium nonstick pan with oil, turn stove to small heat.
-Pour 2/3 of a ladle of the batter into the pan, make sure it covers the surface.
-Put a lid over the pan and wait, about 2 minutes, until the batter consolidates and turns transparent. Turn the pan upside down onto a plate brushed with oil (for the shiny look of the crêpe).
-Put the fillings at about 2/3 of the crêpe, fold the sides, and roll from the part without the fillings (so that the fillings show).
-Mix fish sauce with water and white vinegar to the ratio of fish sauce:vinegar:water = 1:2:3, add chili taste to taste.
-Gio lua (Vietnamese bologna), bean sprouts, herbs (culantro, cilantro, Thai basil), julliened cucumber.
Voilà, you’re done! It took me a lot of practice to transfer the crêpe safely to the plate…but it can be done! I was fairly happy with this recipe, but if you want the crêpe to be thick (the Cantonese version is very thick! So was the Food&Wine Magazine version), feel free to add more rice flour. Some people even add potato starch for extra sponginess. The recipe is yours to explore – the possibility is endless!
Hope you enjoy your dish