Bánh Khọt is a very popular snack originating in the central region of Vietnam. The dish is made of miniature rice pancakes topped with shrimp and eaten with herbs and vegetables and a spicy sweet fish sauce. Street vendors usually hawk this savory treat with their sizzling griddle beckoning all to try them. The perfect bánh khọt is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Even though it is a fried dish, this snack can be semi-healthy with the amount of vegetables and herbs that are usually eaten in each lettuce wrap.
Difficulty: Easy / Servings: 4 people / Time: 30 minutes
1 to 1.5 pound of large shrimp (depending on the size). You can also substitute shrimp with mushrooms or ground meat.
1 and 1/2 cup Bánh Khọt mix (rice flour, corn starch, wheat flour)
2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup of coconut milk
2 cups + 3 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of lime juice
1 teaspoon of garlic
1 teaspoon of red Thai chili
3 tablespoons of water
1 red lettuce or Boston bib lettuce
2 seedless cucumbers
A bunch of mints
A bunch of ngo gai or cat mint (optional)
Korean green chili (optional)
You’ll need a pan with welds like this Norpro Nonstick Stuffed Pancake Pan.
Combine 1 and 1/2 cup of batter mix with 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1/8 teaspoon of ground pepper, 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of coconut milk, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder. Whisk until all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
Beat 1 egg in a small bowl and then combine it with the batter. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes.
Remove shells and veins from the shrimp and split them into 2 halves lengthwise. Marinate the shrimp with 1 and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
Minced 2-3 cloves of garlic, enough for 1 teaspoon, and set aside. Slice the cucumbers into thin 1/8 inch slices.
Make scallion oil by microwaving 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil with diced scallions (6 scallions) for 30 seconds.
To make the rice pancakes:
Add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into each weld with the pan on high heat. When the oil gets hot enough, add 1 tablespoon of batter to each weld. (You can test the temperature with a scallion head and wait until it turns golden brown and then discard it.)
Quickly add half a shrimp to the top of the batter and close the lid. (You will need to do this as soon as you pour the batter for the shrimp to stick onto the rice pancake.) Turn the heat down to medium or medium-high. Cook for approximately 2 minutes until the bottom turns golden. Flip each pancake over and close the lid for another 2 minutes. Once the shrimp side turns golden brown, remove the cakes from the pan and top with some scallion oil. These rice cakes should be eaten right away since they will turn cold and looses their crunch after 15 minutes. (Usually the first batch is the throw away batch due to the variance in stove temperature.)
Combine 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 3 tablespoons of water, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of red Thai chili (optional).
To eat bánh khọt, make a lettuce wrap with one pancake and a few mint and cat mint leaves, and then dip the it into the savory sauce. Enjoy this snack with your friends and family at the next gathering. It is always a hit with my friends and family.
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