Vietnam visits a French Country Kitchen!
Crispy Coconut Crepes with Prawns
A few weeks ago I was sent another LOVELY box of exotic and exciting ingredients from the lovely people at Kitchen Nomad - you can read about my last box from Greece here, A Nomad in my Kitchen! My Big Fat Greek Tomato, Olive and Caper Tart. Last month’s box was from Greece, but this month’s box could not have been further from the Mediterranean, as it was all the way from Vietnam. I was fascinated with the ingredients in the box, with included Rice Vermicelli, Fish Sauce, Rice Paper, s selection of Vietnamese Spices, Crepes Batter, Hoisin Sauce, Peanuts, Lemongrass, Ginger & Citrus Fruits Tea and Fruit Chips. I use fish sauce a lot, as well as rice vermicelli and peanuts, but I was really keen to experiment with the crepes batter mix, which is the first recipe I made from the box.
The crepes batter is made up with coconut milk, which sounded amazing as I love coconut milk when used in cooking and baking. The filling, which is cooked IN the crepe batter, is the made from a delicious selection of beansprouts, prawns and pork, and is then served with lettuce leaves and a selection of fresh herbs; the dipping sauce was a spicy combination of fish sauce, chilli, garlic and cider vinegar, and was the perfect accompaniment to these sweet and savoury coconut crepes. You then wrap up your crepe inside a lettuce leaf with a selection of herbs, coriander, sweet basil and mint.
We both loved these crispy, coconut crepes and thought that the combination of the beansprouts, prawns, bacon (which I used in place of belly pork), lettuce and fresh herbs was fresh and made for a tasty flavour combination. The crepes were delicious with the addition of the coconut milk and they tasted totally different to the usual French crepes I make, or English pancakes. The coconut milk in the crepes added that essential Asian sweetness as well as enhancing the saltiness of the bacon – the crepe batter was easily made, but was quite thin when cooked, so consequently my crepes weren’t as delicate as I wanted (as seen in the Kitchen Nomad recipe section), but they still tasted delicious.
The other ingredients in the box were suggested for several other tasty recipes – Saigon Summer Rolls, Bo Kho (beef stew), Lemongrass, Beef & Vermicelli Salad and Mixed Fruit in Lemongrass Syrup. I am bookmarking the Saigon Summer Rolls to make next, as I LOVE Spring Rolls, and these look amazing as they are stuffed with prawns, pork and herbs, similar flavours to the crispy crepes I made, but wrapped in rice paper sheets for a lighter style recipe.
And why did Vietnam visit a French country kitchen you may ask; well, just after I received my box of Asian goodies, I made my way over to France for the summer, and my Vietnamese ingredients came with me! If you want to get involved with this fabulous global box scheme, just pop over the Kitchen Nomad site and get started. This month’s box is VERY exciting, as it is all about Lebanon and the guest chef is none other than Bethany Kehdy, organiser of Food Blogger Connect and author of the beautiful book, The Jewelled Kitchen. I have been reviewing her book over the last few weeks, so look out for my review and some of the recipes I made. I hope you are inspired to have a go at making these delicious Vietnamese crispy crepes, have a great weekend and I will see you soon, Karen
The recipe for these crispy crepes is on the Kitchen Nomad website, and I have also copied it here for ease too…….
Bánh Xeo is a street food favourite of many Vietnamese – it is a light savoury crepe made with rice flour and coconut milk, to be eaten as you cook. It’s served with an abundance of salad leaves and herbs. Everything should be prepped before the crepes are made so they can be eaten with your hands as soon as they are done.
500g king prawns
300g of pork belly
500g of beansprouts
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of cider vinegar
2 tbsp of sugar
750ml coconut milk
Salt & pepper
Coriander, sweet basil and mint (all or at least one of the 3)
From the BOX:
2 tbsp. of fish sauce
2 tsp. of birdseye chilli
Pour the batter mix in a bowl with 750ml of coconut milk and stir, making sure that the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.
Wash the salad leaves and set aside. Roughly chop the herbs and leave on the table. Make the sauce as per the recipe below and then place into bowls, one for each person.
To make the crepes, heat a frying pan with cooking oil, then brown off a teaspoon of chopped shallots. Add a few pieces of thinly sliced pork belly and two prawns to colour off. Using a shallow ladle, pour on a thin layer of batter, add a handful of beansprouts and close the pan with a lid and wait patiently for two minutes to cook. Then remove the lid and cook for a further one minute, making sure the batter is crispy and brown.
Turn the crepe onto a half moon and serve immediately! Continue to make more and serve as it comes…!
NUOC CHAM DIPPING SAUCE
2 tbsp. of fish sauce
2 tsp. of birdeye chilli
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp. of cider vinegar
2 tbsp. of sugar
Thinly chop the chilli and garlic and make the dipping sauce by combining all the ingredients together, If you find that it is too sweet, add more fish sauce, if too sour, add more sugar, if too salty add a little water.
Uyen Luu is a Vietnamese chef, food stylist, and food photographer. She writes recipes for numerous newspapers and online magazines, and her Vietnamese cook book ‘My Vietnamese Kitchen’ will be published in October 2013.
Disclaimer: I was sent a Kitchen Nomad Box to review; I was not paid or asked to write a review on my site; I chose to share my views here as I believe my readers will be interested in this service. All opinions are my own. Karen S Burns-Booth
As this recipe contains three herbs in it, I am also entering into my own Cooking with Herbs Challenge.
The current challenge is open here: August 2013