Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vietnamese Pancake, Take One

When my friends were over the other day we were talking about the politics of food. It's all very confusing. One day you hear you should eat this and then the next day you hear your not suppose to because of this reason or that reason. Like fish for example. We use to eat fish quite often. At least once a week or so. Now you hear the oceans are over fished and you shouldn't eat certain kinds, you have to check often. Then on American Frontiers you hear that the scientists underestimated the amout of yellow fin tuna in our ocean. It seems the scientists didn't realize there was many more of them at greater depths. Then last night I am watching on PBS that the tuna, eaten by bigger fish (blue marlins, sail fish) is depleting and that the large fish are dying off because there is not enough to eat. Same channel, different message. Oh, I am not sure who put what documentary out first. But that's just the thing who has time to delve into every nuance of a particular food they are buying. When your hungry and your shopping you just don't care. No offense. Maybe sometimes you do, but really isn't it all a bit confusing? Maybe there could be little labels. "You know, if you buy this fish you are killing off the marlins." Or "If you dont buy this fish, how will all those fishermen in third world countries support their families." Good golly Miss Molly! And you know, you never really know, all the meaning behind everything.

The latest trend, I guess, is eating less meat. We have been kind of on that kind of diet for a while now. We eat more beans and more cheese and sometimes it's just vegetables. I am tempted more often that not lately to go vegetarian but folks quite frankly I can not do it. I love meat too much. But I will be eating less of it as I have been for quite some time...

Anyway, if you follow my blog, you know I went to Toronto a little while back and had some amazing food there. Of course, I can not remember a time when I did not have amazing food there. I wanted to give this recipe a whirl to see if I could recreate the dish. When I had it there I was sure there was eggs in it so when I made the recipe I added eggs- nope. It didn't turn out quite right. So, next time I will be leaving out the eggs. It still was good and even better toasted the next day.

Banh Xeo aka Vietnamese Amazing Pancake

1 3/4 cups of rice flour
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 scallion thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs of veg. oil
1 pound of lean beef, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups of mung bean sprouts
In a medium bowl, whisk the rice flour together with 2 cups of water. Add tumeric and scallion and mix well. Set batter aside. (Can be kept in frig. for up to three days.)

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsp of oil over high heat. Add 3 slices of pork, shrimp, few slices of onion, and 1 slice of mushroom. Seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook until onion starts to brown slightly, about 1 min. Stir the rice flour batter and ladle 1/3 cup of it into the pan. Tilt the pan to distribute the batter evenly. Keep the heat high, cover, and cook until the sides of the pancake turns deep brown and curled up, about 3-4 minutes. Scatter 1/4 cup of sprouts onto the pancake. Fold it in half and slide it onto a warm plate. Serve the pancakes with dipping sauce on the side. You can eat it wrapped in lettuce and herbs or plain. Suggested herbs are mint and basil. I also used marinated daikon and radish with it as well.

Nuoc Cham

1 to 2 small red chiles, minced or 1 to 2 tsp dried chili flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon white vinegar, (heated)
1/2 cup bottled fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 carrot, finely shredded, rinsed and squeezed dry
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup of sugar
If using dried chile flakes soaked them in the vinegar in a medium bowl for about 2 minutes.

In the bowl with the chile, add fish sauce, lime juice, carrot, garlic, and sugar. Stir in 1 1/2 cup of warm water until sugar is dissolved. Serve at room temp or store in frig. for up to 3 days.


Murasaki Shikibu said...

I think I know what you mean by the 'fish politics'. Although overfishing is an issue like anything that human beings overdo out of greed (which is just about everything) - I'm not going to reduce the amount of fish I eat because I rarely eat fish anyway (once a month!). One day saccharine causes cancer and then the next day it doesn't. One day margarine is good for you and next day you find out about trans fatty acids and the harmful things they could do to you. I say - let's just risk the dangers of sugar and butter rather than these mutants produced via chemistry...and I'm just going to eat everything in moderation. :p
Pancakes look delicious by the way!

Donna said...

I love the sound of these type pancakes. Interesting post!

kat said...

Its so confusing these days to try to shop & eat. We are trying to eat more locally but even that is hard & full of issues.

Katy ~ said...

I personally don't eat a lot of meat; I cook it for my Ole Sweetie-Pi because he's the one who loves it. I try to buy only fresh ingredients; we never eat fish (only because neither one of likes it). I eat real butter. Pour on real maple syrup. I use real eggs. But then that's just me.

Mary said...

Your pancakes look delicious.

Jude said...

I always order this as an appetizer in Vietnamese restaurants. I don't think I've ever cooked anything Viet before though. Not good.