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Banh cuon

Banh cuon
Banh Cuon

Banh cuon

The Vietnamese dish Banh Cuon consists of steamed and rolled rice flour pancakes, soft and slightly slippery in texture, filled with stuffed minced pork and 'tree ears', a black mushroom. Crispy fried shallots are sprinkled on top.

What is banh cuon?

The Vietnamese dish Banh Cuon (bánh cuốn, pronounced “ban koewn”) consists of steamed and rolled rice flour pancakes, soft and slightly slippery in texture, filled with stuffed minced pork and ‘tree ears’, a black mushroom. It is sprinkled with crispy fried shallots. Like almost all Vietnamese dishes, Banh Cuon is also served with Nuoc Cham (a Vietnamese dipping sauce).

Banh Cuon literally means “rolled cake”. Originally from the north of Vietnam, it is a light flavourful dish, eaten locally as a breakfast or snack.

How to make banh cuon

Rice flour, tapioca flour, water and salt form a batter that rests while the filling is being made. This consists of minced pork with finely chopped onion and ‘tree ears’, fried and seasoned with fish sauce.

The batter is spread very thinly and steamed into a soft, elastic pancake. This is done in the traditional way with a special kind of steam basket above a pan of hot water. A piece of fabric is stretched over the top of the steam basket, onto which the batter is spread out. The pancake is removed from the fabric with a bamboo stick.

Modern cooks also use a lidded frying pan to make the pancakes which steam under the lid until the moisture is released and the pancakes are ready within a minute. In Vietnamese street stalls, there are sometimes small steam machines, with a short conveyor belt, that make the steamed pancakes automatically so that the cook only has to fill and roll them up.

A spoonful of filling is rolled into each steamed rice flour pancake, sprinkled with fried onions and served with dipping sauce. Cha Lua (Vietnamese ham), bean sprouts and cucumber are frequently served with the rolls.

There is also a vegetarian version of the dish, called Banh Cuon Thanh Tri. The steamed rice pancakes are not rolled up but – without filling – doubled and sprinkled with fried onions.

How to eat

Banh Cuon is eaten at room temperature. Dip pieces of the pancakes with your chopsticks in the dipping sauce.

Difference between bánh ướt and bánh cuốn

Bánh cuốn is a dish generally eaten for breakfast everywhere in Vietnam. It’s made from a thin sheet of fermented rice batter filled with a mixture of seasoned ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, and minced shallots. Sides include chả lụa (Vietnamese pork sausage), sliced cucumber, and bean sprouts, with fish sauce for dipping. Bánh ướt is just the unfilled rice sheet, served simply alongside bean sprouts, shredded lettuce, cucumber slices, fresh basil and mint, fried shallots, grilled pork sausage, and that same savoury fish dipping sauce.

Please consider

Vietnamese cuisine has many other types of filled rolls. If you like raw food, try Goi Cuon. A deep-fried version is the well-known Vietnamese spring roll or Cha Gio.

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Banh cuon