Banh beo is a typical dish from the imperial city of Hue. They are savory pancakes made from rice flour with a shrimp topping. You can use dried and / or fresh shrimps. The rest of the topping varies and can be combined: spring onion oil, fried shallots, pork rinds and mung bean paste. The rice flour is combined with a bit of tapioca flour or corn flour. The dish is usually finished with basic fish sauce dip. For this recipe, I use dried shrimps and the addictive pork rinds.
This dish is eaten lukewarm and cold. You can heat up the rice flour cookies in the microwave before you serve and garnish the dish.
Makes about 16 rice flour cakes.
- ½ cup rice flour
- 1½ teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- ¼ teaspoon oil
- ½ cup dried shrimps
- 50 g pork rinds
- spring onion oil
- 2 shallots, cut in thin rings or ready-to-eat dried fried onions
- basic fish sauce dip
- optional: 100 ml shrimp liquid, 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1 chili pepper, thinly sliced.
- small dishes (I use the transparent dishes of Turkish teacups)
- Make the batter by slowly dissolving the rice flour, the cornstarch and salt in the lukewarm water. Let stand for about 1 to 2 hours. Prepare all toppings in the meantime.
- Soak the dried shrimps with hot water from the kettle and make sure that the shrimps lie under the water. Let it soak for about half an hour. Leak out the shrimps and collect the shrimp water to make a separate dressing.
- Optional: make the separate dressing with the shrimp water: 100 milliliters of shrimp water, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, chilli in thin rings.
- Fry the shallots in about 4 tablespoons of oil until light brown or use ready-to-eat dried fried onions. Let the fried shallots drain and dry on kitchen paper.
- Make the spring onion oil.
- Put the pork rinds in a mortar and grind to taste.
- Pat dry the soaked shrimps with kitchen paper and finely chop them with a chopping knife; or chop in a food processor. Heat a frying pan and fry the prawns without oil until they are crispy, constant stirring for about 5 minutes, the prawns almost jump out of the pan.
- The rice flour is now separated by a layer of flour and an upper layer of water. Carefully pour only the water from the mixing bowl and collect the water in a measuring cup. Read the amount of water collected. Then discard the water and fill the measuring cup with the same amount of clean water. Put this water back into the mixing bowl with a ¼ teaspoon of oil and stir well.
- My steamer only fits one dish at a time. Avoid the edges when placing the dishes, otherwise too much moisture will enter the batter. Fill the steamer to two thirds with water and bring the water to the boil. Place a dish in the middle of the steam section. Wait a few seconds until the dish is warmed up. Then put a tablespoon of the batter in the dish and put the lid on the pan. Simmer over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Carefully remove the dish from the pan. I do this by using a folded kitchen paper to grab the edge of the dish. Let the dish cool down and put the next bowl in the pan, let it warm again for a few seconds, add a tablespoon of batter, lid on the pan and continue the steam steps until the batter is empty. With this amount I make about 16 rice flour cakes. Allow all dishes to cool.
- Use a small knife to remove the rice flour cakes from the dishes. To do this, wet the tip of the knife with water. Go with the tip along the edge of the rice flour cookies and cut them carefully. Then you can easily pull the whole cake out of the dish. The empty dish can be washed and reused for the next load of rice flour cakes.
- Put the rice flour cakes on plates and spread all toppings over the rice flour cakes or quantities to taste. Pour some fish sauce dip over the cakes. When pouring the dressing, be aware that the toppings with the dried shrimps and the pork rinds are all salty by themselves. You can make the basic fish sauce dip less salty by adding extra water and / or lemon juice. The dressing with ‘shrimp broth’ is less salty.