Ban khoai happy crepes

Hugh Thomsons Vietnamese crepes with a peanut dipping sauce make a filling snack at any time of the day
Ban khoai happy crepes
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 120 g rice flour
  • 60 g cornflour
  • 30 g wheat flour
  • 560 ml water
  • 3 spring onions, white and green parts sliced separately
  • 250 g minced pork
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250 g chicken, finely chopped
  • vegetable oil, for cooking
  • 250 g cleaned bean sprouts
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 10 large button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • chopped coriander, to garnish

Nuac leo sauce

  • 3 tbsp blanched, skinless peanuts
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed with a little salt
  • 1 small, hot Thai bird's eye chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cm peice ginger, grated
  • 100 ml chicken stock, or water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 lime, juice only

Tips and Suggestions

These are called happy crepes because of the great noise they make when they are cooking. The combination of textures of crispy, soft and chewy, as well as the combination of flavours is very typical of Vietnamese cuisine. It is a good idea to have a couple of pans going at once, so you can have a continuous flow of happy crepes. Nuac leo, a light peanut dipping sauce, is traditionally served with the crepes. There are many different versions across South East Asia. This one is very light, enabling you to taste all the ingredients, and is not too heavy and cloying.

Method

1. For the Nuoc leo sauce: dry-roast the skinless peanuts in a hot pan for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.

2. Coarsely chop 1 tablespoon of the nuts and set aside, then crush the rest.

3. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium high heat and fry the garlic, chilli and ginger for 3-4 minutes until fragrant and aromatic. Add the crushed peanuts only (reserving the chopped ones), lower the heat and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the chicken stock, sugar, coconut cream, fish and hoisin sauces and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 12-15 minutes until the oil from the peanuts has risen to the surface.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool, then add the lime juice and the chopped peanuts and set aside until needed.

6. In a medium bowl, combine all the flours with the water and spring onion greens to make a batter.

7. In a separate bowl, combine the minced pork with half the fish sauce, half the chopped garlic, half the spring onion whites, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

8. In another bowl, mix the prawns [or chicken?] with the remaining fish sauce, garlic, spring onion whites and black pepper to taste.

9. Arrange the bowls and all the other ingredients to hand near the stove.

10. Heat a small skillet or omelette pan until hot, then add 1 tablespoon of oil.

11. Into the hot pan put 1½ tablespoons of minced pork and 2 or 3 pieces of prawn and cook for 2 minutes.

12. Reduce heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons of the batter. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of bean sprouts and a few slices of onions and mushrooms. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes.

13. Uncover and add 3 tablespoons of beaten egg. Re-cover and cook for a further 2 minutes.

14. Fold the omelette in half and continue to cook until the outside is really crispy and golden.

15. Serve immediately, sprinkled with coriander and with Nuac leo, for dipping.

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