There’s not a dish that highlights France’s influence on Vietnam more than Banh Xeo – a golden Vietnamese crepe, colored with turmeric, that’s typically filled with steamed pork or shrimp and plenty of bean sprouts.
Just think about it: a crepe in Vietnam. This food is the direct result of French colonization. Sure, there’s evidence of French influence elsewhere in Vietnamese cuisine, such as Cafe Du Monde coffee in Ca Phe Sua Da, potatoes in their curry, and french baguettes destined for Banh Mi, but I’m convinced that a turmeric crepe made from rice flour takes the cake – or, should I say crepe?
Banh Xeo combines the idea of a crepe with ingredients that are readily available in Vietnam, which results in the use of rice flour instead of wheat flour and coconut milk in place of dairy.
And what do Vietnamese people do when the French introduce crepes to them? Why, dip it in fish sauce of course! Banh xeo is usually served alongside a lightly sweet & tangy fish sauce mixture called Nuoc Mam Cham, along with other necessary companions such as fresh mint & crisp leaf lettuce.
No doubt, banh xeo is enjoyed in a different fashion than French crepes, the main difference being that Vietnamese crepes are never served dessert style. Secondly, Vietnamese crepes are eaten with your hands, usually by ripping off a piece of leaf lettuce and using that as an edible glove to then grab a piece of crepe and dip it into your Nuoc Mam Cham Sauce. Thirdly – and this one is completely biased – I’ve found that Vietnamese crepes are way easier to make than French crepes, which usually end up scrambled in my pan. A heartbreak every time.
Unlike many dishes, there’s not many adjustments that need to be made for these to fit our ideal diet. For one, the crepe batter is already made with white rice flour, coconut milk, and without the use of eggs. The filling is customizable, so we went with a mixture of sautéed shiitakes & onions plus fresh scallions. Lastly, for the Nuoc Cham Sauce, two easy swaps are to be made: switch out real fish sauce with vegan fish sauce (commonly found at oriental markets) and replace the sugar with Swerve, our alcohol-sugar of choice.
A few easy substitutions and your ready to bring this Vietnamese classic into your home. Ready to fire up your stove? These crepes are:
- Quick & easy to make
- Gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free
- Savory, fresh, and balanced
- A French-Vietnamese staple
If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
Go Forth & Devour,
Banh Xeo w/ Nuoc Mam Cham - Vietnamese Crepes w/ Sweet & Tangy Fish Sauce (gluten-free, vegan, and lectin-limited)
Thin batter swirls into a hot pan creating a thin, crisp, and light crepe that crackles as its picked up with fresh leaf lettuce and dipped into an umami vegan fish sauce mixture.
- 90 g (3/4 c) white rice flour
- 9 oz (1 c + 2 tbsps) sparkling water
- 2 oz coconut cream
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- oil to coat
- 3 large shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsps avocado or olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 2 scallions, cut thinly on the bias
- 1 1/2 tbsps vegan fish sauce
- 1 tbsps lime juice
- 2 tsps confectioner’s Swerve
- 3 tbsps water
- 1/2 tsp chili paste
- leaf lettuce leaves
- fresh mint
- Heat a medium-large non-stick sauté pan over high heat. Once hot, add in oil to coat, followed by mushrooms, onion, a large pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Cook, tossing occasionally, until mushrooms are deep brown & onions are browned around the edges; about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all of the crepe ingredients until a smooth, thin batter is formed.
- Heat the same pan used for the mushrooms over medium-high heat. Coat it lightly with coconut oil spray or add a touch of oil to the pan and use a paper towel to spread a thin layer around the pan.
- Distribute 1/4 of the mushroom mixture as well as a sprinkle of scallions across the pan then add in a large ladle of batter – enough to cover the bottom – and swirl it around to create a thin layer.
- Pop on a lid and cook the crepe for 3 minutes without removing the lid or stirring.
- When 3 minutes is up, use a spatula to fold the crepe in half. Transfer to a plate and repeat steps 5 & 6 until all crepes are made.
- While crepes cook, in a small bowl whisk together all of the “Dipping Sauce” ingredients.
- Serve crepes while warm! Wrap a piece of crepe and a couple mint leaves in a piece of leaf lettuce and dip into sauce to enjoy the proper, Vietnamese way.