Somewhere in the depths of the vast northern Vietnamese countryside, a long time ago, a hermit locked away all his worldly possessions in a cloth sack. He couldn’t let his neighbors see how poor he really was. So he established a small village where he bought the villagers a few opulent villas and a few simple homes.
Every culture has its delicacies, and for Vietnam, it’s the famous Banh Khot. These tiny crispy rice pancakes are drenched in shrimp sauce and can be filled with shrimp, pork, tofu or even vegetables! Everyone’s favorite snack for a late night snack, when booze runs dry, or as a quick, tasty lunch.
1. Place a bowl of water in the freezer. 2. Once frozen, transfer to a pot. 3. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off heat. 4. Add in the sugar, and give it a stir. 5. Once the sugar is dissolved, add in the flour. 6. Use a whisk to incorporate the flour into the water/sugar mixture. 7. When the batter has a nice, lumpy texture, remove from heat and add in the shrimp. 8. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. 9. Use a paddle to thoroughly mix the shrimp into the batter. 10. Divide the batter into 6 equal portions. 11. In a dry skillet, heat up a little of the batter until it
Last month’s dish was a success, and many of you have sent me pictures of egg coffee made according to my Vietnamese egg coffee instructions. Please continue to send them in! In honor of my recent trips, I’ve chosen to offer a banh khot dish this month.
Banh khot are little rice pancakes that are cooked and wrapped in fresh mustard leaves and herbs before being dipped in sweetened fish sauce. I tasted two types of banh khot in Vietnam: a crispy, flatter disc topped with shrimp powder in Vung Tau, and a somewhat thicker, spongier disc in the Mekong Delta, which was frequently tinted yellow with turmeric.
It’s not a meal I’d heard of before visiting Vietnam; instead, I’d learned about its bigger sister, banh xeo (“xeo” means “sizzling,” which is a good description of how it’s prepared).
Both banh khot and banh xeo use the same method of wrapping the pancakes with greens before eating them. The readers with children that I brought for banh khot liked it since it was a do-it-yourself dinner. But who am I kidding, it’s just as enjoyable for grownups.
Vung Tau, Vietnam, as seen from my beachfront accommodation.
Banh Khot has a long and illustrious history
The origins of banh khot are unknown. It comes from the coastal area of Vung Tau, according to many Vietnamese acquaintances in Ho Chi Minh City, and from further in the Mekong Delta, according to others. Nobody I know could tell me where the meal came from, other than that it was a smaller, sizzling version of banh xeo.
“Possibly no one knows when banh khot… originated in Vietnamese cuisine, and many are unsure whether the popular and inexpensive meal is a speciality of the southern coastal region of Ba Ria-Vung Tau,” one website said. Right.
Even though it is not the origin of the dish, it is obvious that Vung Tau has become the destination to go to taste it. While there are a few restaurants in HCMC that serve tiny rice pancakes, they pale in contrast to what we had for a fraction of the price on the side of the road in Vung Tau. Banh khot is a popular breakfast dish that is also offered at many eateries around town at all hours of the day.
“Looking like a collection of asymmetrical coins from a find of old treasure,” Tom from Vietnam Coracle writes, “bánh kht are mainly found on the southeast coast, but nowhere more so than the bustling beach town of Vng Tàu.”
The banh khot found in Vung Tau and Ho Chi Minh City is simplified in the following. The shrimp topping is often accompanied with a shrimp powder (seen in the second to last picture below), which is prepared from ground shrimp, Annatto oil, and fish sauce. The recipe for the optional powder may be found at the end of the recipe, although the meal is equally excellent without it.
As a celiac, it’s critical for me to emphasize that this dish is also gluten-free. If you want to save time and purchase banh khot mix from a shop, read the ingredients carefully since they frequently contain wheat flour in addition to the typical rice flour combinations.
Rice Pancakes in Bite-Sized Sizes (Banh Khot)
- If you can’t locate a banh khot pan at your local Asian market, Amazon has a Takoyaki pan and an Aebleskiver pan, both of which would suffice!)
Ingredients in Banh Khot
- 1 pound (500 grams) rice flour and 0.10 pound (100 grams) glutinous rice flour, or 1 box of banh khot flour mix
- 1 coconut milk can
- 1 1/2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup mung bean (hulled) (they can be bought pre-hulled)
- 10 peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 garlic clove, minced and chopped
- 2 tablespoons turmeric powder
- 3 chopped spring onions (discard the white part)
- chopped coriander springs as a garnish
- garnish with fresh Vietnamese mint, chopped
- mustard leaves, used as a wrapper
- lettuce leaves, romaine, for wrapping
- For wrapping, use fresh perilla and basil herb.
- oil made from vegetables
- 1 teaspoon sodium chloride
- Combine the two flours (or use the bag of banh khot flour) in a mixing bowl and stir in the coconut milk until a smooth paste forms.
- Slowly drizzle in tiny quantities of water until completely combined, then add the turmeric, half of the chopped green onion, and salt.
- Wash and slice the shrimp into smaller pieces before rapidly sautéing them in a little amount of vegetable oil with the chopped garlic, the remainder of the spring onion, and a pinch of salt. Remove from the equation.
- Fill each divot of the banh khot pan with a little quantity of vegetable oil and heat until it begins to crackle.
- Fill each indentation about 2/3 full with batter, cover, and cook for about 3- 5 minutes.
- Remove the cover and fill each of the indentations with one or two pieces of shrimp and a tablespoon of mung bean, then replace the top.
- When the sides of the pancakes are crispy and the batter has completely set, the cooking is finished. (Depending on the heat of the burner, this may take another 3-5 minutes.)
- Sprinkle some chopped coriander and mint on top of each pancake, as well as the dried shrimp topping if you’ve chosen to prepare it.
Serve with mustard leaves, romaine lettuce leaves, fresh perilla and basil to make your own spring rolls by wrapping a banh khot in leaves and herbs and then dipping it in fish sauce.
Banh khot with shrimp is a Vietnamese dish.
Topping of powdered shrimp: (optional)
- 1/2 cup shrimp, dried (soaked in warm water for at least 10 minutes)
- annato oil (1/2 teaspoon)
- a half teaspoon of fish sauce
After rinsing and draining the shrimp, wipe them dry with a paper towel before grinding them in a food processor. Fry the ground shrimp combination with the fish sauce and annatto oil in a nonstick skillet until the liquid has completely evaporated and the mixture is dry, stirring continuously. This dish may be prepared ahead of time and stored for later use.
Sauce for dipping:
- 1 cup of water
- 2-3 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you want your sauce to be)
- 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
- a third of a cup of fish sauce
- 1 garlic clove (finely diced) and 2 red chilies (optional) (chopped)
Stir together the water, sugar, and lime until the sugar is completely dissolved. Slowly drizzle in the appropriate quantity of fish sauce (the more the merrier!) Garlic cloves and chilies may be added to the sauce for a stronger flavor, but they can also be presented on the table and added to each person’s dipping dish according to their preferences.
In Ho Chi Minh City, where can you find Banh Khot?
If you can’t get it to Vung Tau, there are a few restaurants in HCMC that provide this delicious, crispy meal.
See my street food guide in Ho Chi Minh City for more choices.
102 Cao Thang Street, District 3 | Banh Khot Co Ba Vung Tau
This is where my buddies and I would go when we wanted dependable banh khot in town. The restaurant serves a variety of pork and fish dishes, and the big mustard leaves are limitless — when you run out, you may get more right away. For those eating with vegetarians, it’s also one of the few places that serves banh khot chay (vegetarian alternative).
Seafood is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine, and the few dishes our cuisine lacks are often explained by the fact that seafood is so expensive. And there are many dishes that use shrimp, like this version of banh khot (pronounced banh khot), or rice pancakes.. Read more about vegan banh khot recipe and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is banh khot the same as Banh Xeo?
Banh Khot is a type of Vietnamese crepe made with rice flour and coconut milk. Banh Xeo is a dish that consists of vermicelli noodles, shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and fried shallots in a savory fish sauce-based broth.
Where is banh khot from?
Banh khot is a type of Vietnamese pastry.
How much is banh khot in Vietnam?
Banh khot is a type of Vietnamese rice cake. It is usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack. The price of banh khot in Vietnam ranges from $0.25 to $1.00 per piece.