Bring the taste of authentic Vietnamese cuisine home. Here, MasterChef’s Jenny Lam shares with you her own family recipe for Vietnamese crepes, plucked from her celebrated cookbook, Eat Like A Viet. Over to you, Jenny!
Banh xeo (or Vietnamese crepes) are eaten all over Vietnam. Each region has its own version—some the size of a taco, others as big as a dinner plate! The fillings depend on what’s available locally.
When I visited Nha Trang, a coastal town renowned for its seafood, the banh xeo was filled with a marinara mix. Even how we eat these delicious Vietnamese crepes differs from region to region.
This is a southern version, as that’s where my parents are from—with a bit of a modern Jenny Lam twist.
Perfect all-year-round, it’s refreshing and a great casual way to entertain, transporting everyone to the streets of Vietnam. No cutlery required!
VIETNAMESE CREPES (BANH XEO)
For the crepe batter:
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup cold milk
- 500ml cold water
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp cornflour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 250g rice flour
- 2 tbsp turmeric
- 5 spring onions, thinly sliced
For the filling:
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 500g mushroom medley (oyster mushrooms, portobello, and shitake)
- 500g bean sprouts, washed
For the nuoc mam chua (dipping sauce):
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 large chilli
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup hot water
- ¼ cup vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
To make the batter:
- Dissolve the sugar in the coconut milk.
- Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Whisk just enough to bring together the eggs. Add in the cold milk, water, salt and coconut milk mixture.
- Whisk in your dry ingredients until well combined. Add the spring onions and let the batter rest on the bench for half an hour before frying.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Thinly slice all your mushrooms.
To fry your crepes:
- Brush your pan with a thin layer of oil, place it onto a medium heat.
- Add a small handful of onions and mushrooms to the pan and fry until softened.
- Put enough batter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan (on a 30cm pan it’s generally ⅔ cup). Swirl your pan to move the batter up and around the edges.
- Place a small handful of bean sprouts into the middle of the crepe and put the lid on. After one minute, take the lid off.
- When the edges of the crepe are golden brown, fold it in half and remove from the pan.
- To keep the crepes crisp and warm whilst you finish cooking the other crepes, set your oven to 70C and pop them in the oven. Repeat until all the batter is finished. You can also keep the remaining batter in the fridge and make more the next day. Read the notes section if you do!
To make the dipping sauce:
- Crush the garlic and chilli in a pestle and mortar then add the sugar and pour over the hot water and vinegar.
- Stir until dissolved. Add the lemon juice and fish sauce.
- Taste and add more fish sauce if you like your dipping sauce more savoury or more lemon to make it sourer.
- The deeper the frypan, the more room there is for the crepe batter to roll up the sides, creating a beautiful thin crispy lace edge.
- The batter should always have the consistency of coconut milk. If you’re frying more crepes the next day, you will need to add water to restore this consistency as overnight the rice flour will expand, making the batter a lot thicker.
How should you eat it?
Serve with hydro lettuce leaves or mustard greens and fresh herbs. Vietnamese crepes are traditionally eaten as finger food. You grab large mustard or lettuce leaf as a base, pinch a handful of pancake, pop it into the centre of the leaf, add herbs, roll it up and dip it into the nuoc mam!
How should you store it?
The crepe batter will last for 3 days in the fridge but once cooked, they are best eaten on the day.