Crispy Vietnamese Crepes With Shrimp, Pork and Bean Sprouts (Banh Xeo) 12.000

John McDonnell/The Washington Post

Sep 11, 2017

Charles Phan says the perfect crepe for these "happy pancakes" should be thin and crisp. The chef recommends refrigerating the batter overnight so its starches have time to relax, then cooking the crepes in a nonstick pan. If refrigerated overnight, let the batter return to room temperature and stir it before making crepes.

To read the accompanying story, see: As a teenage refugee, he was the family cook. Now, he’s a lauded chef.

Make Ahead: The dried mung beans need to be soaked for 30 minutes. The crepe batter needs to rest for at least 20 minutes, and up to overnight. The dipping sauce can be refrigerated up to 1 week in advance (or up to 2 days, if using lemon juice instead of vinegar).

Where to Buy: Dried mung beans are available at natural foods markets and at Asian markets, as well as via online purveyors.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12 servings

  • For the dipping sauce
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar (may substitute fresh lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 red Thai chiles, stemmed and minced
  • For the crepes
  • 1/2 cup dried mung beans (see headnote)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, stirred before using
  • 2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and light-green parts)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces boneless pork loin, cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices
  • 12 ounces medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and cut lengthwise in half
  • 1 medium white onion, cut from top to bottom, and then into thin half-moon slices
  • 3 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • Red leaf lettuce and mint leaves, for serving


For the dipping sauce: Combine the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and water in a medium bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the garlic and chiles (to taste). The yield is about 1 cup. The sauce is ready to use, or it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

For the crepes: Place the dried mung beans in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for about 30 minutes, until they are softened. Drain the beans and transfer them to a blender. Add the coconut milk and puree until smooth. Transfer the bean puree to a large bowl and whisk in the rice flour, cornstarch, water, scallions and turmeric, and season lightly with salt. The batter will be thin; let it rest for at least 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight.

Pour about 1 cup of oil into a small dish. Dip a silicone brush in it and then use it to grease a 10-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add a couple slices of the pork, a couple of shrimp and a few slivers of onion -- all on one side of the skillet. Cook for 30 seconds, then turn them over and cook for 15 seconds on the second side.

Stir the crepe batter, then carefully pour about 2/3 cup of it into the pan, tilting it slightly so the batter coats the bottom and a bit of the sides in the pan, but pork, shrimp and onion stay in place.

Scatter 1/4 cup of the bean sprouts on the side with the pork, shrimp and onion. Increase the heat to medium-high; cover the skillet and cook for about 1 minute, until set. Uncover and brush some oil around the sides of the crepe (to help crisp the edges). Cook for 1 more minute or so, until the bottom of the crepe is golden and crisp.

Use a spatula to gently fold the empty side of the crepe over the filling, then slide the crepe onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining crepe batter, pork, shrimp, onions, bean sprouts and more oil. Serve the crepes as soon as they are cooked, with lettuce leaves, mint and the dipping sauce.

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Recipe Source

From Phan, chef-owner of the Slanted Door in San Francisco.

Tested by Lynn O'Brien.

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