Continuing on with our craving for Asian food lately I tried my hand at making the sizzling cake/crepe Vietnamese dish with lump crab meat and jumbo shrimp paired with a sweet and spicy sauce. Taking inspiration for this is Banh Xeo (sizzling cake in Vietnamese) from our favorite spot in Lakewood, Mot Hai Ba, I did this a bit on the fly…in restaurant terms…very fast, taking advantage of some pre-boiled jumbo shrimp, gorgeous cooked lump crab meat and some left over veggies.
I did not have coconut milk, as some recipes for sizzling cakes call for, but they still turned out delicious! Some recipes also call for scallions, which I didn’t have either so I just used some shallots, along with dashes of turmeric, curry powder, gahram masala, red pepper flakes and even a pinch of fresh chopped rosemary we had in the kitchen when I started cooking. Not traditional, but certainly delicious. Serve with a pile of lettuce leaves, fresh cilantro and basil, and thinly sliced carrots, radishes and mushrooms along with a flavorful lime and fish sauce based Nuoc Cham, also not the traditional recipe but my take on it, and an icy cold bottle of Viognier, we had one from Stag’s Leap.
Vietnamese Style Shrimp and Crab Crepes
saffron or other light oil
1 cup rice flour (the brand “Bob Mills” has a rice flour that is pretty easy to find – Whole Foods, Central Market, Sprouts, etc carry it)
1 cup club soda
1 egg (optional, but I think it helped bind the batter a bit, you could probably leave out if you have 1/2 cup coconut milk instead)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon Gahram Masala
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, divided
pinch fresh, chopped rosemary
1 shallot, minced
6 jumbo boiled shrimp, chopped into bite size pieces
6 ounces lump crab meat
1/2 lime, juice and zest
3 basil leaves + more for serving with the crepes
1 head leaf lettuce
cilantro, parsley, mint or other green herbs
1 carrot, peeled, blanched and cut into 3 inch thin matchsticks
4 radishes, sliced very thin
4 white mushrooms, sliced very thin
1 small tin of sliced water chestnuts….adds just an extra layer of crunch (a substitute for the traditional bean sprouts usually included with this dish)
Noch Cham sauce
Juice of 2 limes
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce (to your taste)
1/4 cup sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water (if you use hot water it will help the sugar dissolve faster)
1/2 teaspoon Sambol or other chile sauce or 1 Thai chile, sliced very thing
1 garlic clove, ground into a paste
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, ground to a paste (not traditional, but I love ginger)
splash soy sauce
Whisk together the spices, 1/2 of the salt and pepper and flour, whisk in the egg, shallot, ginger and garlic, then slowly whisk in the club soda, whisking out any lumps. Add the rosemary and stir to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to make the crepes. Add the zest and lime juice along with the rest of the salt and pepper to the crab meat and stir to combine. Set aside. Chop the shrimp, set aside. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the Noch Cham sauce. Set aside. When ready to make the crepes heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large, flat skillet (not a wok) to medium, so the oil is hot but not smoking and carefully ladle 1-2 ladles full of batter to the skillet. Rotate the batter around the skillet to cover the entire bottom.
Cook for about 3 minutes until the crepe is lightly browned on the bottom (check by carefully lifting one edge of the crepe as to not break it, but check to see how fast they will cook.) Add a few of the mushrooms, a layer of crab meat and top with the equivalent of 2 shrimp to one half of the crepe. Carefully fold the other half on top of the shrimp and slide from the pan. Repeat twice, recipe will make 3 crepes. Serve with the sauce, veggies, herbs and greens on the side.
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