• Vietnam Food Safari

Traditional Vietnamese Recipe - BANH CUON:




For the filling:

300 g ground pork (0.7 lb)

1/2 chopped spring onion to garnish (½ cup)

30 g dried woodear mushrooms (black fungus),1/3 cup

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

For the rice rolls:

400 g Banh cuon flour (OR: 200g rice starch + 200g tapioca starch)

1 liter water (4 ¼ cup or 1 quart )

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

For the crispy fried shallot:

200 g red shallots, finely sliced (1 cup)

1/2 tbsp tapioca starch

For garnish (optional):

500g beansprouts, blanched 1 cucumber, julienned fresh greens: lettuce, mint, Asian basils 100g pork floss (cotton meat) 500g Vietnamese ham “Cha Lua”


To make fried shallot “hanh phi”, remove the excess moisture in the sliced shallots with a paper towel. Then toss with tapioca starch to coat. In a pan, pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1 inch and heat to 180°C/350°F (The oil should be enough to cover the shallot). To test the correct temperature of the oil, you can use a thermometer or a bamboo chopstick. Stand the chopstick in the oil, if you can see small bubbles gather around it, the oil has the right temperature. Fry the shallot slices until they turn slightly golden brown. Quickly drain the fried shallots using a mesh strainer. Place a bowl underneath to catch the oil. The oil is nicely fragrant so we will use it again for the next steps. Spread the fried shallots out on a paper towel-lined plate to drain off the excess oil. They will become crispy when cooled down.

To prepare for the filling, season minced pork with salt and pepper. Mix well and set them aside for 15 minutes. Soak the dried wood-ear mushrooms in boiling water for 15 mins. They will grow bigger and become softer. Then rinse well and remove the stem if any. Chop them finely (by hand or using a food processor).

To make the filling, heat 2 tbsp of the above fragrant oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion until slightly golden. Then add the minced pork and cook under medium high heat until it is no longer pink. Use a spatula to break up any chunk. Add the chopped mushroom and cook for another 30 seconds and take off the heat. Sprinkle freshly cracked pepper on top.

To make the rice crepe, dissolve the "Banh cuon" flour, salt, vegetable oil in 1 liter water. Stir well until the flour is dissolved. In order for the rice crepe to have a smooth silky texture, let the batter rest for at least 1 hour, or better overnight.

Prepare a flat surface like a large plate, a tray or a cutting board and grease it with some fragrant oil. Heat a nonstick pan over medium high, grease with some vegetable oil. When the pan is nice and hot, pour in about 1/4 cup of the batter (Remember to stir up the batter first). Tilt and the pan in a circular motion to coat the bottom evenly and create an even round crepe. Cover and allow the crepe to steam for 1 min. When the crepe turns translucent, uncover and lift up the pan. “Flip” it out onto the greased flat surface and continue to make another crepe while the pan is still hot. While waiting for the new crepe to steam, add filling and roll the previous crepe.

To assemble the dish, cut the steamed rice rolls into bite size pieces. Top up with fried shallot. Depending on the region, banh cuon is served with blanched bean sprouts (bean sprouts that were soaked in boiling water for 30 seconds), julienned cucumber, fresh greens and/or Vietnamese ham Cha Lua etc. Serve hot with light dipping fish sauce “nuoc cham”.