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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Banh Xeo-ish Pajeon? Or Pajeon-ish Banh Xeo? (Vietnamese Crepe-ish Korean Pancake? Or Korean Pancake-ish Vietnamese Crepe?)

The seafood pancake you see at the edge of the table in my homemade Korean barbecue was actually a happy invention created from what I had available in the pantry. I was going to make it with regular flour, like I normally do, but my friend said her Korean family laughed at her when she did that and insisted she use a mix. Well, I didn't have any Korean pajeon mix, and you know how I feel about giving out recipes from a mix... However, I did have a bag of banh xeo (Vietnamese savory crepes) mix. Again, not that I would give you a recipe for something from a mix. It's just convenient sometimes when I'm making it at home. My friend said the Korean mix has beef powder and other seasonings. Banh xeo mix is rice flour and turmeric so not even the same thing at all... Anyway, during the dinner, my Korean friends wouldn't touch the pancake because they said it was too pretty to eat. They said their mothers would save the pretty food for guests and they ate the mistakes. Huh! Good thing I don't have a Korean mom. What I do have is a Vietnamese mom who's a bit of a perfectionist in the kitchen...but at least I got to eat pretty food! Anyway, anyway, the result was that using rice flour along with regular all-purpose flour gave a lighter version to the usual pajeon I make. The bit of turmeric and coconut milk added a nice Vietnamese twist. But the best part is making a Korean pajeon is much simpler than making a Vietnamese banh xeo. So this recipe gives me a bit of the taste without the hassle of trying to make a crispy thin crepe and adding the ingredients one at a time. See my recipe for kimchee pajeon (Korean kimchee pancake) with photo instructions on how to flip it. Banh Xeo-ish Pajeon? Or Pajeon-ish Banh Xeo? (Vietnamese Crepe-ish Korean Pancake? Or Korean Pancake-ish Vietnamese Crepe?) For about 4 pan-sized pancakes, you'll need: 1/2 cup rice flour 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk (I prefer Chaokoh brand.) 1 can water (Fill the can with water to get out the last of the coconut milk.) As much shrimp as you'd like, shelled, deveined, and sliced in half. I used about a dozen? As much pork as you'd like, sliced into 1/2 x 2 inch strips. You can use regular pork, or daeji bulgogi (Korean spicy pork), or even bacon. 3 green onions, sliced into diagonal strips 1 cup bean sprouts, washed and drained 1 egg Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. The batter should be about pancake consistency, add flour or water if necessary to thicken or loosen the batter if needed. In a pan on medium-high heat, add a few drizzles of sesame oil. Pour in enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with lid and let the pancake set. This should take about five minutes. Flip the pancake with a spatula, or using my method of sliding the pancake onto a plate with the uncooked side up, placing the pan on top, and upending the whole thing until the uncooked side is on the bottom. Cut into wedges. Serve with a dipping sauce of sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Enjoy!


  1. I love banh xeo, but it's not the kind of thing you make for one or two, is it! I think your new creation very pretty indeed, but I don't think I'd give a twinge at digging in!

  2. Nikki,
    Oh, I'd insist you dig in! I kept trying to get my friends to eat but they wouldn't. Said it was too ingrained not to eat the pretty food. :(

  3. Any chance you'll add a recipe for a Central Viet Nam styled Banh Xeo? I had one in Hoi An that I loved, but haven't found a recipe that is like it - everything I've found is very much like the ones I saw in Sai Gon.

  4. Jonathan,
    Real central-style banh xeo with its crispy outside and chewy inside is hard to achieve here. That's b/c it's made from freshly ground rice flour.


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