Vietnamese Steamed Rice Cakes with Shrimp and Pork Rinds – Banh Beo
This is a super simple recipe and very delicious however, it is very time consuming so I would definitely make this a weekend dish so you can take the time to do it right. Banh beo is a dish that comes from Hue the region of my decent and so it makes sense that it was something that I ate a lot as a child. Everything I make this recipe it takes me back to when I would eat with my mother and sister (before she because a vegetarian of course). I bet she would love to give the vegetarian version a try the next time she comes to visit.
Ingredients for Batter:
1 lb of banh beo rice flour
2 Tbsp tapioca flour
1 Tbsp salt
Ingredients for Topping:
½ lb raw medium shrimp (peeled and deveined) – You can also use dried shrimp if you can find it
Pork rinds (crushed) – you can also use pork fat and chop and fry yourself
2-3 scallions (green onions)
Ingredients for Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
¼ cup sugar
Lime juice (to taste)
Hot sauce or hot peppers (finely chopped, to taste – optional)
You can use egg yolk in this recipe as well as mock shrimp for the topping.
Fresh chopped green onions (scallions)
Banh Beo chambered steamer (if you can find it, if you can’t then you can use the below)
Small shallow saucers (similar to the dishes that are used for soy sauce when eating sushi)
Large mixing bowl
Prepare the banh beo mixture first, following the directions on the package. This will give the mixture time to rest for say 20-30 minutes before cooking.
Poach the shrimp briefly in boiling water until just done. Drain and pat dry the shrimp. If you use a knife crush the shrimp with the side of the knife. Take the crushed shrimp and fry in a non-stick pan (no oil needed). Take the shrimp and finely chop them with your knife. If you have a mortar and pestle you can crush the shrimp that way. Set aside in a covered bowl or in a plastic container.
Chop the scallions into 1/8 inch pieces on a diagonal. Set aside in a bowl. If you are make the pork fat part of the topping from scratch, chop finely fry and then chop again if needed (should be the consistency of light bread crumbs.
Once the topping is prepared, you can focus back on the rice cakes. Coat your steaming dish lightly with oil. Pour about 2 Tbps into each section/container and place into your steamer. Allow to steam for 2-4 minutes until the cake becomes completely clear and firm. Remove from the heat quickly.
Remove the rice cake from the dish and place on a plate and top with the shrimp, pork, and scallions. Pour the nuon cham on the banh beo and enjoy!
This is a recipe that I would not recommend freezing or really refrigerating. I would just make whenever you would like to eat them. You can always freeze the shrimp and keep a few bags of pork rinds around if you want to make it on the fly. If you do refrigerate the banh beo, just heat up in the microwave in 10-15 second intervals until they are soft and warm. Like the banh bot loc and other recipes made with tapioca flour, they tend to harden when cooled in the fridge.
This is not the easiest dish to find in Vietnamese Restaurants, which is why I’m glad that I have a recipe to make it whenever I want. However, when I’m feeling lazy I can always go to the local Vietnamese deli or market and find it pretty easily.