Picture this: a bustling Vietnamese market, alive with the sights, sounds, and irresistible aromas that tantalize your senses. Amidst the whirlwind of culinary delights, one dish stands out like a harmonious crescendo in a symphony of flavors—Bánh Khọt. These crispy, golden morsels are more than just a delicious snack; they are a celebration of Vietnam’s rich heritage, blending age-old traditions with a modern, cosmopolitan touch.
Join me as we journey through the vibrant streets of Vietnam, discovering the fascinating history of Bánh Khọt and the skilled artisans who craft these delightful bites. Along the way, we will delve into the regional variations of this cherished dish and learn how to recreate the magic of Bánh Khọt in your own kitchen. So, loosen your belts and prepare your taste buds for an unforgettable adventure into the heart and soul of Vietnamese cuisine.
Banh Khot Origin and Curiosities
Bahn khot can easily be called the Vietnamese version of mini-sized savory pancakes. They are usually fried then served while rolled up in some fresh mustard leaves as well as herbs. They are then dipped in fish sauce. Banh khot is usually light and delicate. It normally has a seriously crispy and golden-colored kind of barter. You can usually hear this crisp sound when you bite through it.
According to those chefs who have specialized in preparing this dish, its origin is Central Vietnam in areas such as Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, and Khanh Hoa. People then migrated southwards carrying this dish with them. With time, they changed this dish around to fit in with the needs of the people in the local area.
A lot of the local people say the word khot was coined from the sound that is produced when a spoon hits the mold when these Vietnamese pancakes are taken out of the pan. They say cooking it is fun because the process is not so difficult and the result is definitely worth it.
They are prepared by making a batter from corn starch, rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric powder. This batter is then fried on top of cast iron Banh khot. It can also be fried on an Aebleskiver frying pan to the point where it is crispy on the outside but then fluffy inside. Usually, they are topped with shrimp. They are also brushed with some scallion oil. You then sprinkle them with some toasted minced and dried prawns.
Banh khot exists in different variations today and the one you get to eat is going to be dependent on the region you are in. As mentioned already, it has been customized by different people to suit their needs and taste.
Banh Khot Vs Banh Xeo
Banh khot and banh xeo are both Vietnamese delicacies that resemble pancakes containing batters flash-fried to perfection on the outside part but melty and fluffy on the inside. In both these dishes, the batters are prepared with rice flour, corn starch, coconut cream and turmeric. The difference is in the fact that Banh khot contains both prawn and shrimp as the main protein. Banh Xeo on the other hand incorporates shrimp, pork, and other different types of vegetables.
Banh khot are mostly mini cakes and they are cooked in cast iron pans. Banh xeo on the other hand is thinner even though it’s larger in size. That said, both of these dishes are served with fresh lettuce, Vietnamese fish sauce as well as herbs.
Banh Khot Recipe
According to many people who often make this dish, the process is fun and easy just as long as you have the right ingredients and follow the right procedure. If you would like to try it out, follow the process below.
Ingredients Banh Khot
- 1 ¼ cup rice flour
- 36/ 38 shrimp ( size dependent on your pan’s size) peeled, deveined and tails removed
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup dried split mung beans
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (more for the pan)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt ( divided)
- 5 scallions/ green onions with the green parts chopped
Ingredients Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
- 1/3 cup fish sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves (finely minced)
- 1-3 Thai chili peppers ( finely minced)
Greens and Herbs for Serving
- 1 cup Julienne cut carrots
- 1 cup julienne cut daikon
- Mint leaves
- Start by softening the mung beans then place ¼ cup of the dried split mung beans inside a saucepan. Cover it with water up to two inches. Bring it to a boil then turn off the heat. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before straining it.
- Take the chopped scallions and ¼ teaspoons of kosher salt and put them into a safe bowl. Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil that has a neutral taste. Once it’s hot enough pour it inside a bowl of scallions. Ensure it’s not smoking because you don’t want it burning the scallions. Stir using a spoon then set it aside.
- In case you are using Cham brand dipping sauce things are easier. However, with some of the ingredients above, you can make your very own nuoc cham sauce. For this, simply place 1/3 cup of fish sauce, 1 cup of water, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of rice vinegar, minced garlic, finely minced Thai chilis in a bowl then stir this mixture well until the sugar gets dissolved. Set this aside until you have finished everything and are ready to serve.
- Grab a large skillet and in it, add a tablespoon of scallion oil that is already prepared. Put it on high heat. Add some shrimp and sear quickly then cook until it’s 80% done considering they will continue cooking when you make your Banh khot. Place this into a bowl then set it aside.
- To make the banh xeo batter, take 2 cups of water, ½ cup of coconut milk, ¼ cup corn starch, 1 ¼ cup rice flour, softened mung beans, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and blend it on high for a few minutes. Ensure it’s fully blended.
- Heat a Banh khot pan on medium to high heat. Add ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil to all your pan cups. Once the pan is heated, properly stir the batter and then add it to every cup up to 90% full. Ensure your pan is hot enough to a sizzling point. Add shrimp as a topping to every cup then spoon a couple of chopped scallions.
- Cover the pan for about two minutes then remove the cover and keep cooking to the point where the bottoms become crispy and the top part looks well set. This normally takes 6 to 10 minutes. After this, add ½ teaspoon of oil into each cup once again. Repeat the entire process until all the batter is fully cooked.
- Serve this with mint leaves, green leaf lettuce, cilantro, perilla leaves, julienned daikon and carrots. Make a wrap then dip it in cham sauce and enjoy its delicious taste.
Banh Khot Calories and Nutrition
It has become a lifestyle for a lot of people to watch their weight and as such people look at the number of calories in the different foods they eat. If you are one of those people, you are probably wondering how many calories you will be adding to your body if you eat Banh khot. Well, first of all, a single cake of this will give you about 55 calories. It contains some carbs, some fat and protein.
You can have this as a snack or just eat it as a light meal when you don’t want to fill up too much. The calories are definitely manageable. The best part about it is that it is eaten alongside some green leafy vegetables which are healthy. You can also eat it with herbs which are good for you. So there, you can enjoy this amazing dish with more knowledge about what it will add to your body.
As you can see, this dish is definitely interesting and worth a try. The best part about it is that you d not have to travel outside your country to enjoy it. With the simple recipe we have shared above, you can easily try it out at home. Simply go out to your nearest grocery store and get yourself the ingredients and get to work.
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