My mom always makes these crepes (thin pancakes) during the summer when her vegetable garden is in full bloom with fresh baby lettuce and herbs. Over the weekend, I had a huge craving and decided to call her up and ask her to walk through the recipe with me. I’m quite impressed with myself that I attempted this on my own! And for my first try, I think it turned out pretty well. Cambodian crepes tend to be very thin and soft in texture, quite different from the Vietnamese version, which is a little thicker and crispier; my batter was a little thicker than what I had anticipated, so rest assured I will be attempting this again, trying to perfect the mix. One thing I did learn though, was that preparing this meal was quite labor intensive. I have a new found respect for my mom making it on a whim every time I craved this! But it’s a delicious dish, and I love using the fresh herbs.
Serving Size: 4 (about 2 crepes per person)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 lb freshly ground pork (you can substitute ground chicken/turkey as well)
1 lb small shrimp, peel, de-veined and minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp sweet fish sauce (recipe below)
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
12 oz store bought banh xeo flour mix
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups room temperature water
2 cups bean sprouts
Vegetable oil for frying crepes
Fresh baby bib lettuce
Directions for filling:
In a large non stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add in the garlic and allow to cook until soft. Add the pork and shrimp. Next, mix in the green onions, sweet fish sauce, sugar and black pepper. Combine thoroughly and allow to cook until the pork is cooked through.
Directions for crepes:
In a large bowl, combine the banh xeo flour mix (including the tamarind powder) with the coconut milk and warm water. Mix well. The batter should be slightly more runny than pancake batter. Add more warm water as needed.
When ready to assemble, heat a large non stick skillet on medium heat. Coat with about 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Ladle 1/2 cup of batter and swirl the pan to disperse the batter into a thin even layer. Scoop a heaping spoonful of the pork/shrimp mixture and half a handful of the bean spouts on one half of the crepe batter.
Cover and allow to cook for a 2 minutes, until the bean sprouts are soft. Using a spatula, carefully lift the crepe side not covered with the filling and fold over, like an omelette. Then slide the crepe onto a plate.
When ready to eat, plate the crepe with lettuce, mint, basil and cilantro. The Cambodian way to eat this is to use the lettuce as a wrap, cut a piece of the crepe and lay it inside the lettuce, top with the herbs and dip in the sweet fish sauce.
Ingredients for Sweet Fish Sauce:
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 good quality fish sauce (I use the 3 Crab brand)
1/4 cup coconut soda
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1 lime
In a small sauce pan, mix all the ingredients over medium low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the mixture to reduce for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool before using.