Banh Xeo! – a traditional Vietnamese flavor

Banh Xeo! – a delicious sounding word that brings back warm memories from the past; a word that a traditional Vietnamese family knows very well, because it is a taste which every Vietnamese has grown up with. It is a word etched firmly in the memory of all Vietnamese palates, nostalgic about their childhood.

Banh Xeo is best described as a pancake or crepe made from rice flour. It has always been a tradition to serve this dish as a comfort food to the family and also as a welcoming dish for friends and relatives visiting a Vietnamese home.

Vietnamese women learnt how to make this dish very early in childhood from their mothers. Banh Xeo has always been quintessentially a Vietnamese dish which added that special warmth of family and loved ones in a Vietnamese kitchen.

However, this tradition is slowly fading as Banh Xeo is now being sold commercially in supermarkets and restaurants. Although Banh Xeo is still accepted as a delicacy, it however lacks the flavor of home cooking.

The recipe behind Banh Xeo.

Modern day housewives hesitate from preparing Banh Xeo in their kitchen. The process requires effort and is time consuming. The rice is soaked overnight, then ground by hand before flavors and seasoning are added to taste. The stages of preparation are many and require a skilled hand in order to give the batter the right amount of fluffiness, crispness and flavor.

The process is far more complicated than it seems and every Vietnamese woman adept in the art of making a perfect Banh Xeo has a little secret trick up her sleeve! So much so, that in days gone by, mothers-in-law often asked their future daughters-in-law to make Banh Xeo to check their skills!

However, nowadays pre-mixed Banh Xeo flour is readily available. It is easier to prepare as the flour only needs to be mixed with water and it is ready to be fried in the pan. Among the many brand names of Banh Xeo available, the more popular one is ‘Huong Xua’ meaning ‘ancient flavor’.

The Huong xua Banh Xeo flour comes premixed with all the flavors and is the closest taste to the traditional Vietnamese Banh Xeo. It is crisp in taste and easy to make.

The modern housewife does worry about eating Banh Xeo as it is fried in oil. Those on a diet abstain from eating it! Though Banh Xeo made from Huong Xua flour does not require too much oil as it is produced with modern Japanese technology which does not let the flour retain oil and makes the crepes smooth and easy to make.

This new Japanese technology is a joint venture of a Japanese-Vietnamese enterprise called Intermix. It is the first such company in Vietnam and it has been successful in creating a fast and easy to make product. Besides their Banh Xeo flour, Intermix is also making other products such as cake and dumpling premixed flour.

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