Bánh Bột Lọc – Clear Shrimp and Pork Dumplings

Translucent, almost gelatinous cakes of sticky tapioca flour filled with sauteed whole shrimps and sliced fatty pork. Topped with scallions and crispy rendered pork fat and served with fish sauce.

For filling

  • 1/2 pound shrimp
  • 10 large shrimps (with heads)
  • 1/2 pound pork belly or pork back
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon nouc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pepper

For dough

  • 30 ounces tapioca starch
  • Boiling water

For topping

  • 1/8 pound pork fat
  • 2 scallion stalks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Make filling

Cut pork into small pieces that contain meat, fat, and skin. Set aside.

Remove the small and large shrimp’s tails, legs and veins, but leave their peels intact. The shrimp’s peel adds to the dish’s flavor and texture. For the larger shrimps, do not remove their heads. The shrimp heads contribute to the filling’s intense orangey color.

Sauté the pork in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat until just cooked. Add the shrimp (large and small) to the pork along with vegetable oil, fish sauce, salt, and sugar. Cook until all liquid has been absorbed. Lastly, add a generous amount of pepper to the filling.

Make dough

Place the tapioca starch into a large mixing bowl. Add enough boiling water to the starch to form malleable dough. Start with half a cup of water and gradually add in a little more until dough is formed. Knead the dough for approximately five minutes or until the water and starch is combined. The dough should be smooth and pliable.

Assembling and cooking Banh Bot Loc

Using a small portion of the dough, form a flat circle that is approximately 3″ in diameter and 1/8″ thick. Place one shrimp and one piece of pork in the center of the dough and fold in half. For the larger shrimps, cut into smaller pieces. Repeat with the remainder of the filling and dough.

Cook the banh bot loc in boiling water for 5-8 minutes or until translucent. Once the banh bot loc has been removed from the boiling water, place them immediately in a cold water bath for 3 minutes and then drain. Repeat until all banh bot loc has been cooked.

Make topping

Saute pork fat on high heat. After 15 minutes, crispy pork fat will form within the liquid fat. Drain the liquid fat leaving only the crispy pork fat. Set aside. Chop scallions into thin slices and sauté in vegetable oil. Add in crispy pork fat and combine. Spread the onion, oil, and crispy pork fat mixture atop the banh bot loc and serve immediately with fish sauce.

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