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Vietnamese Pancakes

It must really be Spring.  In one week, I have gone from feeling like only soups, stews and things eaten with a spoon from a bowl, to feeling like something with crunch and those hot-sweet-sour tropical flavours.

This Tuesday Night Vego Challenge took a bit of experimenting, and a bit of re-purposing of kitchen equipment.  You might have to do your own experimenting and repurposing to make it fit what you have available. It’s worth it.

The Recipe:

Makes 2 large  pancakes.

Part 1: The Pancake Batter

You need half a cup of brown rice flour. I can buy it at my local wholefoods shop, but it isn’t cheap and I don’t use a lot of rice flour.  Luckily, I have made the happy discovery that my little electric coffee grinder works beautifully to turn the local clear conscience rice into rice flour – slightly coarse but perfect for this.

You also need 2 dessertspoons of  coconut flour.  Again, my local wholefoods shop sells it but it isn’t cheap, and my coffee grinder will turn dessicated coconut into coconut flour perfectly.  Canned coconut cream isn’t a routine pantry item for me. It’s well out of my 100 mile zone, I’m not sure that I need that much fat of any kind (good or bad), and the cans come with all the energy and resource costs of canning along with BPA.

You may have to experiment to see if you have an implement that will make rice and coconut flour.

Blend together

  • ½ cup of brown rice flour 
  • 2 dessertspoons coconut flour
  • 2 dessertspoons cornflour (corn starch in USA)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh turmeric (or substitute ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar
  • ½ teaspooon salt
  • ½ cup water
You should end up with something the texture of a thin crepe batter. Let it sit while you make the sauce and filling.

Part 2: The Sauce

Blend together
  • juice of a lime
  • ½ red chili (more or less to taste)
  • a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • one clove of garlic (this time of year I start getting frugal with garlic!)
  • 1 dessertspoon brown sugar
  • 1 dessertspoon wine vinegar
  • 1 dessertspoon soy sauce
  • 1 dessertspoon sesame oil
Let this sit while you make the rest.

Part 3: The Salad

This is just an Asian style salad and the ingredients are quite versatile.  I used:

  • 2 small carrots, julienned
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 2 radishes, julienned
  • a handful of snow peas, thinly sliced diagonally
  • a handful of mung bean sprouts
  • a handful of chopped mint, vietnamese mint, and coriander

Part 4: Cooking and Assembling

There is a knack to the pancakes. If you get them just right, they hold together and are crispy on the edges but soft enough in the middle to fold.  The tricks are in a nice thin, smooth batter, a well seasoned heavy pan, and working quickly. If it looks like turning into a disaster you can add an egg to the batter. It makes it hold together easily but you lose the crispiness.

Put a good swig of a nice sweet flavoured oil in a big heavy pan over a medium heat. I use sesame oil, but you could use peanut oil.

Pour in half of the batter and, working quickly, tip the pan and use a spatula to spread it thin. Then let it cook undisturbed until the top is set and the edges are going crispy.  It will be quite fragile and if you try to turn it too early you’ll break it.  If you have the knack you can turn it with an egg flip.  The safer way is to loosen it with the egg flip, tip it onto a plate, then slide it off the plate back into the pan to cook the other side.

As each pancake cooks, put it on a plate, pile half the salad onto one side of it, pour on sauce, and fold it over.

Serve leftover sauce on the side.


{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Hannah August 23, 2012, 8:23 am

    I love these pancakes! If you want a work around for the coconut flour, my recipe doesn’t have any – just rice flour, tumeric, salt, an egg, and some sort of liquid (coconut milk, cows milk, water). Works well for me!

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