Monday, October 26, 2015

Miniature Vietnamese Savoury Coconut Pancakes (Banh Khot)

I love love love Vietnamese pancakes and I really really really surprised that I can COOK THESE!!!

miniature Vietnamese savoury coconut pancakes Banh Khot
My miniature Banh Khot

Before having my child, the younger me used to eat an entire super-size banh xeo all by myself at least once a week. I remember that my husband always said... Please don't tell me that you want to Thanh Ha again...

Yes, please!!! I usually replied with lots of nods. My husband will eventually said ok but reluctantly to me. I'm amazed knowing how persuasive I was. LOL!

We usually go to Thanh Tam (which is Thanh Ha with no number before changing its name) and Thanh Ha 2 at Richmond for these pancakes. Believe me! I have been these restaurants so often that even the staffs know me.

After having my child, we have not been going these restaurants as often as before because my husband and son (being two against one) have decided to go other restaurants rather than always Thanh Tan and Thanh Ha 2. Maybe I have lost my persuasive power or my son has more persuasive power than me? Or maybe I have changed to be extra accommodating? Hmmm... I have got myself thinking?

Even we have not been to Thanh Tam as often, my son and I are still sharing the same liking for banh xeo and banh khot. Due to the presence of the little male me, I don't get to eat the entire super-size banh xeo all by myself anymore. Am I sad that I can't have enough pancakes to eat? Not really! ... because I can cook these now.

Try this recipe. Bet that you will be surprised that you can cook these too!!! The recipe that I'm using is mostly adapted from SBS Food and Legal Nomads. Both recipes are very similar but missing out a lot of details. After a few trial and errors, I have begin to get the hang of cooking these pancakes and like to share a few tips and tricks...

"You need Kang-Hu (meaning skills in Hokkien) to cook crispy pancakes..." This is what my husband says and he thinks that he can cook better than me... LOL!

Use a squeezy sauce bottle!
  • Most importantly, the pancakes have to be THIN in order to be crispy!!! To do, the pan has to be HOT and oily. The method of pouring the batter onto the hot pan can be tricky! I find the miniatures one are actually easier to cook by pouring the batter around the edges of each indentation using a squeezy sauce bottle.
  • The consistency of the batter can be equally important and I would suggest making the batter with lots of saturated coconut fat... LOL! Yup! Use coconut cream if you can! The batter has to be smooth, creamy, and runny but NOT TOO THICK!
  • Cook and serve immediately!!! This means that I have to be "fast-legs-fast-hands"... LOL! (meaning doing things quickly in Hokkien term) The pancake batter can dry out easily if it is not covered and the pancakes will lose their crunch if they are not consumed immediately.

Me NO Kang-Hu? ok ok... I must admit that I was stupid at first preparing the full amount of this pancake batter believing that the SBS Food recipe says that it makes 8 but it should be serving 8!!! With the large amount of batter, I was cooking these pancakes like crazy...

Eventually, I gave up after cooking at least five batches of these pancakes. What can I do with the leftover batter? I can't store it as it dries out easily and form yellow flakes everywhere... Idea! My husband and I had a competition to see who can cook crisper super-sized banh xeo with the excess batter. Guess what? I lost! Me NO Kang-Hu?!!! Yup! I have to admit. I'm only good enough to cook these miniature ones... LOL!

Before cooking the pancakes, these are preparation works that I had to do...

The beans were soaked one day ahead.
The dried shrimp powder can be cooked a few days in advance. 
Getting the dipping sauce ready just before cooking the pancakes.

Now this is how I cooked the pancakes...

Mixing the batter the right consistency.
If you can move the pancakes off the mould, this means that they are almost ready!
miniature Vietnamese savoury coconut pancakes Banh Khot
Now, serve these IMMEDIATELY!
Wait! Not to forget to add this dried shrimp powder!
miniature Vietnamese savoury coconut pancakes banh khot

Here is the recipe that I have adapted from SBS Food and Legal Nomads, adding the details and tricks that I have learned.

Serve 8
Please use half or quarter of this recipe if you are not making these pancakes to sell or serve 8-10!!!

For the pancakes:
500g rice flour
100g glutinous rice flour
270g coconut cream (I used Ayam)
270g coconut milk (regular not fat reduced)
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken stock powder, optional
1 1/2 cup boiling water

3-4 stalks green onion (shallot), finely chopped
200g fresh prawns, shelled and deveined, cut into 1-2 cm pieces
150g mung beans, soaked until soft, drained and steamed

To cook:
vegetable oil
banh khot pan (you can use takoyaki pan, Aebleskiver pan or poffertjes pan)

For the dipping sauce (nuoc cham):
2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1-2 limes depending on their size
1 carrot, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp sugar, or more if you wish

For the powdered shrimp topping:
100g dried shrimp
1 tsp annato oil or 1 tsp oil plus 1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp fish sauce

lettuce leaves, Vietnamese mint or basil, to serve

To prepare the shrimp topping: Grind dried shrimp in a food processor in batches - I prefer not to soak the dried shrimp in water as I find it easier to grind them finely in small batches with no moisture. Heat oil in a nonstick pan with low heat. Add paprika and ground shrimp. Stir to develop consistent reddish colour. Add fish sauce and cook until mixture is dry. Set aside for later use.

To make the dipping sauce: Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients together.

To make the pancake batter: Mix the two rice flours and all dry ingredients. Add the coconut cream and coconut milk into the flour mixture. Stir to combine. Add boiling water gradually and mix thoroughly to form a smooth and runny (NOT too thick) paste.

Heat the banh khot mould over high heat, and grease with generous amount of vegetable oil. Fill a squeezy sauce bottle with pancake batter. Squeeze batter onto each indentation from the edges in circular motions until each indentation is well covered with batter. Add 1 piece of prawn, green onions and 1 tbsp mung beans into each pancake. Allow the pancakes to cook for 5-6 mins or until the edges become crisp and also the prawn is cooked. At this stage, the pancakes should be easily removed from the pan and their bottom are nicely browned and golden.

Serve pancakes with lettuce, mint, powder shrimp topping and dipping sauce.

Happy Cooking
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  1. Zoe this post makes me miss Vietnamese food.

  2. Too cute, Zoe! I love small bites like these :D

  3. Wow I regret not being able to try this when I'm in Vietnam. This looks so good!

  4. These look so cute and sounds delicious.

  5. I have not eaten this before. Looks very delicious.

  6. You have a lot of skill and patience to make such delicious food :)

  7. This looks delicious! I need to try making vietnamese food sometime!

  8. Hi Zoe,
    Delicious bite sized Vietnamese savoury coconut pancakes !

  9. Never seen these before, it looks very cute.. The mini crispy pancakes look so so crispy crunchy cute, haha..I can pop 100 into my mouth easily, reminds me of Chikadees, haha..

  10. These are gorgeous, Zoe! I've never heard of this food before. Gotta find some to try for myself! =)

  11. Zoe, these looks so pretty to serve in the party!

  12. hah..hah..Zoe, I had a laugh at your husband's remark about "kang hu". I've never cooked pancakes and even though I love Vietnamese food, I have yet to try these pancakes. I must order one the next time I'm at the restaurant!

  13. ohh they look pretty as well as yumm...good to know about this snack....looks good

  14. OMG. I love these!!! How yummy!!! I'm a huge huge fan of vietnamese food and their savory pancakes and rice pancakes too like banh beo! I love that sweet dipping sauce especially with cut chilli soaked in it. Yours look so delicious and the added dried shrimp must make it so fragrant!

  15. I'm so curious about the taste. Very charming little tapas! I could eat 100's. Our husband sounds like very nice person and funny!

  16. I have never heard of glutinous flour being used for banh khot. Usually corn flour is added for extra crispiness. I am also surprised you used hot water instead of the usual cold or soda water. But if you managed to produce crispy banh khot then you must be doing something right. Next time I make BK I will try your way.

    1. Hi Lan,

      Thanks for your comment. I might not know the best recipe to make BK but reckon that this recipe containing glutinous flour and boiling water can make crispy BK only if the batter is spread as thin as possible and the KH is cooked with adequate amount of heat and fat. Hope that you will like this recipe. Cheers!