Bánh cuốn made in Vietnam is made by stretching a piece of cotton fabric over a pot of steaming water and pouring a thin layer of batter over the fabric to produce a thin round sheet of noodle. This dish is very similar to the dim sum dish called rice paste. My parents use to slave over the stove to make these sheets. Spread it thin to make these rolls or spread it thick to dry them out in the sun to make rice crackers.
The steaming process seems very daunting, but worth it if you have the patience to do it old school. When I was in college, a student at Florida State showed me that it can be made in a pan. That was 15 years ago!!! It's easy and doesn't require lots of practice to make it.
Difficulty: Hard (Time Consuming)
1 - 16 oz bag rice flour
1.5 cups tapioca starch (which is about 1/2 - 14 oz bag)
1 Tbsp oil
1/8 tsp salt
6 cups warm water
2 -12oz package of prepared banh cuon flour (see picture below for reference)
1 lb ground chicken or pork
1 cup wood ear mushroom, re-hydrated in warm water, drained well, chopped finely
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp fish sauce
Flat plate, tray, or counter-top
Foil, piece larger than your pan cooking surface
Neutral oil or non-stick cooking spray
Sheet of paper towel or a pastry brush
Cucumber cut into match sticks
These are the two pre-packaged brands I have tried. I like the white bag.
Empty the batter ingredients into a large bowl and stir well. Set aside for about an hour for batter to "bloom" before using it.
Make the filling by heating up a pan with some cooking oil. Add chopped onions and sauteed for a couple of minutes. Add your ground protein and brown it. Make sure that you break up the meat well so there aren't any large chunks. Right before finishing, add the remaining filling ingredients. Combine well. Set aside to cool.
Heat a 8-10 inch non-stick frying pan on low-medium heat. Use a paper towel or brush to coat the pan with oil. Stir the batter well, then ladle the batter into the pan. Swirl the pan so that the batter covers the bottom of the pan. Place a lid over the pan for 1 or 3 minutes. You are looking for smooth sheet. It is has bubbles in it, it means the heat is too high. Bubbles isn't a bad thing. It eats just as good.
Flip the rice sheet onto a greased aluminum foil lined plate, tray or counter-top. Spoon the filling mixture in the middle of the sheet. Fold the sides towards the center. The bottom and top towards the center. Place the bánh cuốn, seam side down, on a plate and top it with some fried shallots and/or fried garlic.
|Photo courtesy of Hieng Kayla Kim|