Recipe: Bánh Cuốn

For some reason my family loves bánh cuốn and I mean… loves loves bánh cuốn. A dish from the North Vietnamese region, it literally means “rolled cake”, but in this case it is a rolled rice noodle which is comprised of a thin sheet of steamed rice batter filled with primarily ground pork, minced muschrooms and minced shallots.

Whenever my mother makes bánh cuốn, it was always with some instant batter mix, and although good just didn’t seem great. Then my aunt from Kentucky came up last month and she showed my mother and I her mix for us to taste and see for ourselves how it could be done… and my goodness if I wasn’t so full from the five course meal earlier in the day I would have gobbled the plate up!

Now the Ravenous Couple has their own recipe upon on their site. Note: I will only provide the ingredients and directions for the batter since that is the most important piece of the Banh Cuon… for fillings and condiments feel free to link accordingly.

1 bag of rice flour (16 oz)
1 bag of tapioca flour (14 oz)
1 ts salt
3 qt of water

1: In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice and tapioca flour with water and salt. Mix well.

2: Heat up a large nonstick pan to medium high heat. Brush on a very light layer of oil and ladle on the well mixed batter and immediately tilt and swirl the pan around to evenly coat the pan. You’ll have to use your judgement on the quantity according to how large your pan/ladle is. Cover for about 30 seconds and the crepe should be nearly transparent. Then invert the pan to your large aluminum work tray that has been lightly brushed with oil.

3: Add a small amount of filling into the center of the crepe and spread it out thinly. Then fold over the sides and place in a serving tray. You can make many banh cuon and stack them on top of one another and it won’t stick due to the very lightly oiled surface that you’re working on. Repeat again and again.

Like all Vietnamese cooking, this is also catered to taste… so below is the recipe that my aunt uses.

1 rice bowl of rice flour
3/4 of a rice bowl of tapioca flour
3 rice bowls of water (1 rice bowl of cold water to initially mix and 2 rice bowls of warm water to continue)
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon of oil

One thing I notice is that my aunt mixes all of the above ingredients thoroughly and then puts the liquid batter off to the side for at least three hours. As she explains it, this is so the mixture could soak as much as possible.

A few hour later she comes back to the mixture and proceeds to create the bánh cuốn in a similar fashion to that of the Ravenous Couple’s directions.

Once the bánh cuốn is in the tray ready to be filled with whatever filling one chooses (or none at all) she places a little bit of the filling, rolls it up, and places it to the side. Voila! Rinse and repeat as many times as needed until the batter is gone.

Needless to say, since I couldn’t finish it up, my mom did. 0_o where the heck did she find the room after the five course meal earlier today I have no idea. Though I did manage to sneak in a couple of bites here and there. Ah well… at least this is another dish I will try on my own down the road. 🙂