I look forward to eating them every year during the Têt festival (Vietnamese New Year) street parties.
Banh khot is a great little coconut pancake snack that’s crispy on the outside and rich and creamy on the inside.
- 425 g (15 oz/2½ cups) rice flour
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) coconut cream
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing and frying
- 25–30 small green prawns (shrimp), peeled and de-veined
- 100 g dried prawns (shrimp)
- 1 kg carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 200 g daikon (white radish), cut into matchsticks
- 150 ml white vinegar
- 100 g caster (superfine) sugar
Nuoc mam dipping sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 brid's eye chillies, finely chopped or sliced
- 150 ml fish sauce
- 100 ml white vinegar
- 140 g caster (superfine) sugar
- thinly sliced bird’s eye chillies
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Elements of this dish need to be started 2 days in advance.
Resting time: 2 hours
1. For the pickled carrot, combine the vinegar and sugar in a bowl and add 100 ml water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Rinse the daikon and carrot under warm running water for 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel. Transfer to a large plastic container. Pour the pickle liquid over the vegetables and set aside in the fridge for 2 days, after which time the pickles will be ready to use. Makes 1.3 kg, the remainder will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
2. To make the prawn floss, rehydrate the prawns in cold water for 3 hours or preferably overnight. Drain and pat dry with paper towel. Put the prawns in a food processor and blitz to a fine floss. Heat a large frying pan over low heat, add the prawns and cook, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes or until dry. Makes 60 g. The remainder can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 1 week.
3. Combine the rice flour, turmeric, coconut cream, salt and 600 ml (20. fl oz) water in a bowl. Add the oil and mix well, making sure there are no lumps in the batter. Set aside to rest for at least 2 hours.
4. In the meantime, make the dipping sauce by combining the ingredients and 200 ml water in a bowl and stiring through until the sugar has dissolved. Makes 600 ml, the remainder can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
5. Give the rested batter a good stir to get it ready to use.
6. Place a 12-hole banh khot pan (see Note) over medium heat and generously grease the holes. Working quickly so the banh khot cook at the same time, evenly spoon the batter into the holes until filled to the top. Top each of the banh khot with a prawn, then cover and cook for 1 minute.
7. Remove the lid and drizzle a little oil down the side of each banh khot to help them crisp up and come away easily from the pan. The more oil you use, the crispier they will be. Continue to cook the banh khot for 7–10 minutes, until the batter has turned a wonderful yellow colour. Using a spoon, carefully remove the pancakes from the pan and transfer to a plate. Top with ½ tsp prawn floss, a few pickles and sliced chillies.
8. Serve immediately with the nuoc mam for drizzling over and dipping (these are best eaten straight away), then continue to make batches of banh khot with the remaining ingredients until you’ve used everything up.
• Banh khot pans can be bought online or at most Asian kitchenware stores. Alternatively, a Dutch pancake pan would suffice, but I have also seen banh khot cooked in muffins tins by very enterprising cooks.
Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99