Banh Xeo Quang Binh
In a nutshell, Xeo Cake of Vietnam is somehow familiar to Crêpes of France. You can find Xeo Cake in many places thorough the country, but to taste one of the most unique recipes, you must visit Quang Binh. Xeo Cake there is made of red rice; it is best accompanied by Banana Fishes, Vietnamese salad, fresh herbs and fish sauce.
First, a plate of Vietnamese salad includes sesame, bean sprouts and a special kind of vegetable called Ket. The bean must be the extremely big red beans. The rice used to make Xeo Cake also has a unique red color. It is dipped in water for about 5 hours before being ground. During the 2 separate grinding processes, water should be added periodically. After that, we add a little of salt and fried onion into the mixture. The pan used to fry the cake must also be made by the men of Quang Hoa: it is only a little bit bigger than a normal bowl; the side is just 1.5 cm high and the bottom is flat. When frying, we have to make sure that the fire is extremely red so that the cakes can “bloom” fully into the desired size and shape.
The Banana Fish is another part of this exciting dish. The main ingredient is nothing else but Porcelain Bananas (a type of banana that has many seeds) which are not too ripe and not too green. They are peeled and dipped in lemon sauce before being cut into small pieces. After that, we boil the bananas and bend them into different shapes of shrimps or fishes. Each of the “fishes” is then dipped quickly in the bowl of spices. Finally, we arrange all the “fishes” on a plate and pour fish sauce (with garlic and chili) on so that each piece would have an equally spicy taste.
When eating, we wrap the Xeo Cake, the veggies, the salad and the banana fishes inside a piece of rice paper. The cakes taste best when they are still hot. Holding the hot Xeo Cake on your hands, you will understand why the hotness and the tempting sense of red rice are so wonderful!
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