Okay, so I actually tried Bánh Xéo for the first time this weekend and instantly fell in love. The flavors are all super refreshing and I knew that I had to try to make it myself. This recipe is a lot, but it’s really fun to make! Overall it tastes super good and just satisfies all of those Thai food cravings that you might be having. According to the recipe developer, Andrea Nguyen, make sure to seek out coarser stone-ground white rice flour (not finely ground Thai rice flour), which will yield the appropriate batter consistency for this recipe.
- ¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp. (120 g) stone-ground white rice flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. (heaping) ground turmeric
- ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1–2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. (or more) fish sauce
- 3 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. (or more) sugar or 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
Crepes and Assembly
- 1 lb. large or extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined, halved crosswise
- ¼ medium head of red cabbage, core removed, thinly sliced
- 1 small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 oz. sugar snap peas, strings removed, trimmed
- 8–10 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- 1 large head of tender lettuce (such as butter or red or green leaf), leaves separated
- 1 large handful mint or basil leaves
- 1 large handful cilantro leaves with tender stems
Whisk rice flour, cornstarch, salt, and turmeric in a medium bowl to combine. Whisk in 1½ cups of the hottest water from your tap (aim for about 120°) followed by coconut milk. Let batter sit, uncovered, until thickened to the consistency of half-and-half (it will be slightly gritty from the flour), 30–45 minutes. If batter is too thick, whisk in about 1 Tbsp. water to get it to the right consistency.
Do ahead: Batter can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and whisk well before using.
Whisk chiles (use 1 or 2 depending on how hot your chiles are and your own preference for heat), garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and ½ cup warm water in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Taste and add more fish sauce, lime juice, and/or sugar as needed until sauce tastes balanced—not bitter or too tart.
Do ahead: Sauce can be made 8 hours ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
Crepes and assembly
Place shrimp, cabbage, onion, and sugar snap peas in individual bowls and set near stovetop along with oil, some salt, and batter.
Arrange lettuce and herbs on 1–2 plates. Divide sauce among a few small bowls for dipping. Set aside for serving.
Preheat oven to warm. Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high until very hot and shimmering. Add a small handful of shrimp, onion, and sugar snap peas to skillet (you’re going to make 6 crepes total, so eyeball it accordingly); season with salt. Cook, stirring once or twice, until shrimp are mostly opaque, about 30 seconds. Separate mixture to create 2 semicircles on each side of pan (this makes folding the finished crepe easier!).
Stir batter vigorously with a ladle until there is no drag or sludge. Measure out ⅓ cup batter and pour into pan, distributing around filling. Carefully swirl skillet so batter coats the bottom without disturbing the filling; batter should set around filling and form a round. It will sizzle and sputter! If needed, quickly add more batter to fill in empty spots.
Pile one sixth of cabbage on 1 side of pan, reduce heat slightly, and cover with a lid. Cook until softened slightly, about 1 minute. Uncover and drizzle 1–2 tsp. more oil around the crepe’s rim to encourage crisping. Reduce heat and cook until golden brown around the edges (they should lift off the pan a bit) and entire crepe is mostly crisp, about 3 minutes longer.
Slide a spatula under one side and fold crepe over (no big deal if it breaks in the center). Slide finished crepe onto prepared rack and place in oven to keep warm while you make the remaining crepes. Pro tip: If the batter didn’t sizzle and bubble upon contact, the skillet isn’t hot enough. If it did bubble but was hard to swirl around, reduce the heat or thin out the batter with water, or do both. Making these crepes is akin to making pancakes: adjust as you go. Also be patient.
Stir batter vigorously again and repeat process to make 5 more crepes. If at any time the batter feels too thick, add water by the teaspoonful to thin out. And if you have 2 medium skillets, use both to speed things up. Crepes are best eaten soon after frying.
Serve crepes with lettuce and herbs and dipping sauce alongside. Use kitchen scissors to cut crepes into manageable pieces at the table. To eat, place a piece of crepe on a lettuce leaf (tear it to roughly the size of your palm if needed), then top with some herbs. Fold into a bundle, dip into sauce, and enjoy.