Overview

These crepes, called banh xeo, look like omelets and deliver an array of flavors and textures. Cooking the crepes can take some practice. Adjust the heat and time until you get it right, but be assured that even if a few fall apart, the pieces will taste great. You’ll have dipping sauce, called nuoc cham, left over, which is good news because it’s good on anything. Use it to dress vegetables, noodles, rice or grilled meat.

Make ahead: The batter can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.

The sauce can sit at room temperature for several hours, or can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Recipe note: The water should be about 160 degrees. To get it close, mix equal parts boiling water and very hot tap water.

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Ingredients

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE

1/2 cup warm water, or more as needed

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons fish sauce, or more as needed

1 Thai or serrano chile pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

FOR THE CREPE

3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) white rice flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 1/2 cups very hot water (see NOTE)

1/3 cup full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk, well stirred

10 ounces ground pork (may substitute ground turkey or beef)

8 ounces small shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed

4 mushrooms, white button or shiitake, thinly sliced

1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion (about 1/2 small onion)

8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) canola oil

3 cups mung bean sprouts

FOR SERVING

1 lettuce head, such as bibb, Boston or green leaf

1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs, such as cilantro, mint and Thai basil


Steps

Step 1

Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lime juice and 3 tablespoons fish sauce. Taste, and add more fish sauce, if desired. Add the chiles, if desired.

Step 2

Make the crepes: In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice flour, cornstarch, salt and turmeric. Add the water and coconut milk and whisk to combine. Let the batter sit at room temperature, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes.

Step 3

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, divide the pork, shrimp, mushrooms and onion to make 6 portions of the crepe filling, each with equal amounts of the ingredients. Season them lightly with the salt.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees with the rack in the middle.

Step 4

In an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat about 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add one portion of the filling ingredients and stir-fry them for about 1 minute, breaking up the pork with a spatula as it cooks. The shrimp should start to turn opaque, the mushrooms and onion should begin to wilt, and the pork should start to change from pink to light brown.

Step 5

Line the shrimp on one half of the pan and push the rest of the ingredients to the other side, forming a line down the center of the pan; you want to create two semicircles of ingredients with a space between them. (The empty space will create the line along which you will fold the crepe later.) Reduce the heat to medium. Whisk the crepe batter and scoop out 1/3 cup. Slowly pour the batter into the pan, distributing it evenly. Pick up the pan and swirl it gently to make sure the batter covers the bottom of the pan and envelops all the ingredients. The batter will puff and set pretty quickly.

Step 6

Add about 1/2 cup bean sprouts over one half of the crepe, cover the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, until the sprouts wilt a little. Remove the lid, drizzle about 1 teaspoon oil around the edges of the crepe and continue to cook for about 4 minutes. Using a spatula, lift one edge of the crepe. The underside should be brown and crisp. If it isn’t, let it cook for a few more minutes.

Using a spatula, fold the crepe over. It might break at the fold — that’s fine. Slide the crepe onto a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you repeat the steps to make 5 more crepes.

To serve, cut the crepes into bite-size pieces and wrap them in lettuce leaves, topped with herbs and dipping sauce.

Adapted from “Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors” by Andrea Nguyen (Ten Speed Press, 2019).

Tested by Jim Webster; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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Nutrition

Calories: 460; Total Fat: 33 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 90 mg; Sodium: 330 mg; Carbohydrates: 24 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 21 g.