Jun 2009

Bánh Cuốn – Vietnamese Rice Crepes with Ground Pork and Mushrooms

The literal translation for bánh cuốn is “rolled cakes.” A more apt translation would be “Vietnamese crêpes stuffed with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms.” In Vietnam, bánh cuốn is consumed for breakfast and as a late night snack.

For years, my Bà Ngoại (maternal grandmother) made bánh cuốn using a prefabbed batter that she purchased from the Vietnamese supermarket. The grocery store-bought batter yielded passable bánh cuốn, but my grandma always felt that the crêpes’ consistency was slightly off. While reading a local Vietnamese-language newspaper recently, Bà Ngoại stumbled upon a bánh cuốn recipe that looked very promising. She followed the instructions to a T and was very impressed with the results. The combination of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch makes for a light and thin crêpe without a trace of glueyness.

For crêpes

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5.5 cups water

For filling

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup wood ear mushrooms
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • Fish sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Sugar
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Make crêpe batter

In a large bowl, whisk together rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch. Whisk in water and oil until blended. Let the batter rest for one full hour before proceeding. [See images of the various flours’ packaging after the jump.]

Make filling

While the crêpe batter is resting, prepare the meat filling.

In a small bowl, cover the wood ear mushrooms with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and chop the mushrooms.

In a small skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the ground pork and the shallots and cook over moderate heat until no pink remains. Break up the meat with a spatula. Stir in the chopped mushrooms. Season with fish sauce, black pepper, sugar, and MSG to taste. Set aside.

Mise en place

The process of making bánh cuốn requires one to work quickly and efficiently, so make sure that all ingredients are within reach before starting—batter, filling, and additional oil.

Assemble bánh cuốn

Grease a large plate using a non-stick spray or a paper towel dipped in oil. Set aside.

Heat a ten-inch non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Lightly mist pan with non-stick spray if using a plain skillet. Ladle in about a half cup of batter, quickly swirl to evenly coat the skillet, and then quickly pour the excess back into the batter bowl. Note: the batter should sizzle when it hits the pan. Cover the pan with a lid for approximately 30 seconds.

The crêpe is ready to be inverted once the edges start to release themselves. Invert the crêpe onto the greased plate in one swift motion. Don’t worry if the crêpe’s sides fold inward. Be sure to re-grease the plate after every three crêpes or so.

Spoon about one tablespoon of the pork and mushroom filling into the center of the crêpe. Fold in the sides to cover the filling and form a neat rectangle. Transfer the finished bánh cuốn onto a different plate.

It is best to fill and fold the bánh cuốn while the crêpes are cooking. The time that it takes to fill and fold the bánh cuốn is comparable to the time that it takes for the crêpes to cook. The bánh cuốn making process goes by rather quickly once a rhythm is established.

Serve bánh cuốn warm or at room temperature with nuoc cham. Garnish with fried shallots, steamed mung bean sprouts, julienned cucumbers, and cha lua (Vietnamese pork loaf).

Makes approximately 30 to 40 bánh cuốn.

The bánh cuốn batter calls for three different types of flours—from left to right—rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch. All are available at Asian grocery stores.

Previous Post
Next Post

29 thoughts on “Bánh Cuốn – Vietnamese Rice Crepes with Ground Pork and Mushrooms

  1. This looks fascinating. I feel like i would screw up the crepes. Maybe you’ll just have to do a demo first that I can oversee.

  2. Your ba ngoai’s rendition of banh cuon looks great! We agree–the pre-made mixes are decent but nothing like mixing it from scratch. My mom makes these the traditional way with a large fabric tautly stretched over a pot and flipping them off with her bamboo stick. It’s quite a sight. She promised bring an attachement over for us when she comes to visit soon..can’t wait!

  3. yum. love banh cuon. i am telling my mom about this flour mixture. she always use the dry mixture from the vietnamese store also. this may be something i may have to try to make myself.

  4. I love the chubby, short kind of banh cuon that you made here. The skinny long ones never seem to float my boat as much. =)

  5. Liz – Oil is only necessary if your pan isn’t non-stick or if it’s especially stubborn. My grandma’s nothin’ special non-stick skillet didn’t need any oil.

    Foodhoe – Grandma makes banh cuon all by herself! She’s been doing it for decades…

  6. The thought of making my own crepes makes me extremely nervous, but these look so good, I may have to be a big brave soldier and work some out! YUM!

  7. I tried making it once with the ready made packs of flour but I can’t seems to figure out how to mix it well enough. I need to practice more on it.

  8. This dish looks soo enticing and I’m eager to make this. But I’m soo nervous knowing the fact the crepes have to be paper thin when tolding and taking them out of the pan. I hate to waste time and money for a big dissappointment. But it looks so good. Like the previous person using a cloth to drape over the pan. I see that done in the restaurant that sells these banh coun. Decision, decisions.

  9. Oh!!! this looks yummy and though hard and out of my comfort zone, it also looks fun… i will try it one of these days, when I get my lazy ass off to the asian supermarket! =) awesome recipe!!!

  10. Dear Sir / Madam,
    i give my family recipe of banh cuon in my blog and the batter is much easier to make for the home cook as I use a frying pan instead of the steaming method. It gives a delicious thin crepe, surprisingly even without using rice flour.
    If you try the recipe one day, please don’t hesitate to give me your feedback.
    Thank you,

  11. Cathy, do you know how the addition of potato starch changes the texture/taste of the bánh cuốn as opposed to “traditional” recipes that use only rice flour and tapioca flour? I’m gonna try this for the first time **fingers crossed** and make mama proud! 😛

  12. My sister and I love banh cuon! We normally order from a lady that lives nearby, but she gets real busy so it can take anywhere from an 1 hour wait time up until 5 hours! We always wanted to try making our banh cuon on our own, but have always been too scared to try it out. Thanks to your recipe and step by step picture instructions, I think we will manage to make them on our own.

    We look forward to testing this recipe out, and making our own banh cuon at home! Thank you for the recipe and the step by step pictures, they really do help!

    I just started my own blog for class, http://www.lifeofmichelleho.com and will post up pictures and updates when I get a chance to try this recipe out!

  13. I can’t wait to try these! How many does the recipe make and how long do they keep. There are only two of us and I’m wondering if I should cut the recipe in half.

  14. Do you have a recipe for Banh xao I believe it is called? It’s a tumerec crepe with lots of bean sprouts shrimp and pork belly. You eat it with lettuce. I’d really appreciate that one. It’s one of my favorites. Unfortunately where I live now there are hardly any decent Vietnamese restaurants. The ones that are here are very Americanized for the masses. I miss the simplicity of a real Vietnamese community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *