Vietnamese Bean Sprout Pancake
Banh xeo (also known as Happy Pancakes or Vietnamese Crepes) are large yellow pancakes – traditionally stuffed with bean sprouts and shrimp – that look like lacy-thin crispy omelets. Vegans can eat these “omelets” without any worry, though. I’ve replaced shrimp with tofu. And the yellow color comes from a pinch of turmeric, not egg.
4 ounces (125 g) extra firm tofu, well drained
1 small onion
3 large button mushrooms
4 ounces (125 g) bean sprouts
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
1/2 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon coconut milk
Lettuce leaves, spearmint leaves and Thai sweet chili sauce (if desired) for serving
While you prepare the vegetables, press the tofu to remove any excess liquid.
Peel the onion and cut into thin slices. Clean the mushrooms and slice. Wash the sprouts and set aside to drain. Cut the tofu into matchsticks about 1/4 inch (6 mm) square and 2 inches (5 cm) long.
Heat the oil over high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Spread the onion, mushrooms and tofu in a single layer in the bottom of the pan. Saute over high heat until the vegetables are browned on the bottom (two to three minutes).
Meanwhile, whisk together the rice flour, turmeric, water and coconut milk to form a thin batter. When the vegetables and tofu are ready, add the batter to the pan slowly (so the vegetables don’t all float to the edges of the pan) then tilt the pan distribute the batter evenly.
Cook the pancake for about two to three minutes. Place the bean sprouts on one half of the pancake and cook for another two to three minutes until you can see that the underside of the pancake is golden and crispy when you gently turn up the edge.
Fold the pancake over the bean sprouts like an omelet and slide onto a serving plate.
Serve each person several lettuce leaves and fresh mint leaves. To eat, cut off a bite-sized piece of the pancake and filling and wrap in a lettuce leaf along with a mint leave and a dab of chili sauce.