I've had these fantastic filled rice pancakes at restaurants and my wife has enjoyed them in Vietnam - but I've never had success making them.
Whenever I follow the recipes on the net - invariably made with rice flour, coconut milk, tumeric and a touch of salt and sugar - I get a dismal mess. Now, I thought I was alone in this failing, but in fact I'm not. There is a brilliant article on this very sticky problem at Viet World Kitchen (http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/bookshelf/articles/banhxeolat.htm) authored by Andrea Q. Nguyen writing for the Los Angeles Times.
Now Andrea appears to have nutted out the core problem: by adding cooked rice and mung beans to the (uncooked) rice flour batter the extra starch should crisp up the pancake.
Andrea's research in her kitchen showed a couple of tablespoons of cooked rice and a tablespoon of steamed mung beans would do the trick for a rice pancake batter normally made with 1 cup of long grain rice. Just in case the original article is ever lost the essential part of the recipe was:
1 cup long-grain or jasmine rice
2 tablespoons cooked rice, firmly packed
1 tablespoon steamed, ground mung beans, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
1 green onion, sliced into thin rings ( 1/4 cup)
1. Place the raw rice in a bowl and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak for 3 to 4 hours. Drain.
2. Place the soaked rice in a blender with the cooked rice, mung beans, salt, turmeric, coconut milk and water. Blend until very smooth and lemony yellow, about 3 minutes.
3. Pour the batter through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and discard the solids. Stir in the green onion. Set aside. As the batter sits, it will thicken to a consistency like that of heavy cream. Makes 3 cups of batter.
Refer to the link for instructions on soaking and steaming mung beans (basically 2 hours soaking and steam for 8 minutes); and on frying the pancake (basically fry onion, shrimps, pork and mushrooms then add pancake mix then cook about 3 mins covered and then another 3 uncovered to crisp up) .
I've gotta try this!
Report back later...