Banh Beo Steamed Rice Cakes with Shrimp and Pork Rinds

banh beo

Banh beo, oh how we love to slurp up your delicate rice cakes topped with minced shrimp and crispy pork rind bathed in a spicy nuoc mam cham…We smile with satisfaction as we pile empty banh beo bowls upon bowls, one on top of another, ten high on the table.  One of our absolute favorite appetizers, banh beo originates from the central regions of Vietnam and Hue and can be served in variety of ways including in a “chen,” a small condiment size bowl or loose, stacked on a “dia,” or plate.  There is even a variation where it’s served in a larger rice bowl, yielding a much larger rice cake with a big dimple in the center for the toppings. Also, in the mien bac (Northern Vietnam), mung bean paste is also swiped onto the cake before the other toppings.

banh beo

For convenience, we just use the pre-packaged banh beo rice flour. But if you were to make it without any alterations you’ll find that it doesn’t have the right texture–rice flour by itself is rather soft and can be mushy. You need to add some tapioca flour/starch to this mix in order to get the right soft, yet slightly chewy consistency.

banh beo

To make a large quantity, there are modes such as these that you can buy in the Vietnamese markets for about $2. However these are fairly large so make sure you have a big enough steamer and several of these trays so you can steam multiple trays at once. We have a 4 chambered steamer so we use multiple modes at once.  If you’re making less just halve the quantites below and pour them in the small condiment bowls–but you’ll need a lot so buy them at the Asian restaurant supply store if you can.

banh beo

If you’re using the small condiment bowls, the same concepts apply except that you don’t need to grease these since it’s a one time use.  We prefer a thin banh beo so we typically go light on the batter, but use as much batter as you like according to your taste.

When ready to serve, top each banh beo with minced shrimp, scallion oil, and small pieces of pork rinds. Serve with some spicy nuoc mam cham.  The banh beo (with out the toppings) can stay soft overnight un-refrigerated so you can make this in advance.  Any longer than that then we recommend refrigerating it and then warming in microwave.

banh beo

Do you think we were too overly dramatic in our affection for banh beo? No, not really? Because you feel the same way right?  :)

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Banh Beo Steamed Rice Cakes with Shrimp and Pork Rinds

Ingredients:

1 package of rice flour mix such as above
3 tbs tapioca flour
5 cups water
1 ts salt
2 tbs oil (neutral tasting)
1/2 lb medium shrimp cleaned
small bag of pork rinds/chicharrones
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
3 tbs cooking oil
salt and pepper
nuoc mam cham
extra cooking oil to grease the banh beo mode

Directions:

You can make the shrimp topping ahead of time. We keep this really simple. Season lightly with salt (or fish sauce if you like) and pepper and quickly sautee in a bit water until done. Drain and set aside to completely dry. In a mini processor or by hand, mince the shrimp and set aside.

Heat a small sauce pan with 3 tbs of oil and when hot, add the scallions, stir and remove from heat and set aside.

Fill your steamer with water and bring to boil. In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, combine water, rice flour mix, salt, tapioca flour, and neutral oil and stir well.

If you're using the mode, it's important to grease each little chamber using a towel or large cotton swab tied to a chopstick. You don't have to do it every time and only when the rice cakes begin to stick as you're removing it--you may also need to wipe of any stuck on rice cake after each round. Stir the mix before each use and carefully fill each chamber without overflowing and steam for about 3 minutes. You will see that the banh beo will become opaque when done (see above). Remove and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes. This step is important because if you try remove the rice cakes when still hot and wet, it may break. Use a blunt ended butter knife and carefully remove each rice cake. Stack in overlapping fashion in a container until ready to serve.

This post is our contribution to Delicious Vietnam #4, a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese cuisine created by Anh of A Food Lovers Journey and yours truly! This month’s host is Bonni_bella of Chrysanthemum. Submissions are due Sunday Aug 8 at 7 pm pacific time. For instructions on how you can participate, visit Delicious Vietnam information page.

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41 Responses to “Banh Beo Steamed Rice Cakes with Shrimp and Pork Rinds”

  1. 1

    MaryMoh — August 3, 2010 @ 7:36 am

    Wow…these look really pretty and delicious. My family would really like the. Thanks very much for introducing the flour. I have to look for it.

  2. 2

    Kung Food Panda — August 3, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    I can vouch these bad boys are good. I've had the ones Ravenous Couple made!

  3. 3

    Ravenous Couple — August 3, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

    mary: banh beo is light and flavorful, try it sometimes!

    KFP: we made a lot that day–glad you liked it! for some reason, it's better in bowl, maybe it's the actual experience of slurping it up :)

  4. 4

    James — August 3, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

    This looks delicious. Your presentation is amazing as well. Really want to try this!

  5. 5

    mycookinghut — August 3, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

    I love Banh Beo!! I had it when I was in Hue not too long ago! I definitely want to make these at home.. I couldn't stop eating when I was there!

  6. 6

    Ravenous Couple — August 3, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

    James: Thanks! We hope you get to try this soon!

    mycookinghut: so you've had banh beo at the place of origin..how cool!

  7. 7

    Miss.Adventure — August 4, 2010 @ 2:28 am

    Not overly dramatic at all! And you've caught me while nostalgic about VN!! I love banh beo! I used to be able to swing by cho ben thanh and get mini banh beo! oh how i miss it!

  8. 8

    tonya c.hope — August 4, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

    I love this recipe and will try it soon . Banh Beo is super yummy !

  9. 9

    pigpigscorner — August 4, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

    wow, this is beautiful! I've never had this before but definitely sounds amzing!

  10. 10

    Duy — August 5, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

    do you know that you can use the water leftover when you cook the shrimp to make nuoc mam cham ?

  11. 11

    Tiny Urban Kitchen — August 6, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    Seeing your posts always makes me wish I lived next door to you! Looks fantastic, and reminds me of a Taiwanese version that we make but with different toppings.

  12. 12

    anthony — August 6, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. However, I noticed that there is no "little dimple" in the center of banh beo. How do I make it to have that "dimple"? Thanks.

  13. 13

    Ravenous Couple — August 6, 2010 @ 11:07 pm

    @tonya: do let us know how it goes!

    @duy: great idea!

    @Jen: it would be fun wouldn't it? :)

    @anthony: there is no dimple because our banh beo is very thin–the ones that use a rice bowl will have that needs to be bigger and thicker and will have that dimple after steaming.

  14. 14

    Khanh — August 7, 2010 @ 5:47 am

    Thanks for the recipe, I can't wait to try it!

  15. 15

    Sippity Sup — August 7, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    This is really beautiful. I am sure they are not as good as yours but I have seen those little rice cakes in the store. I may be tempted to pick some up and dress them like yours. GREG

  16. 16

    Don Cao — August 8, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

    I tried to contact you via email but the emailmeform servers must be down.

    I read in your article on banh cuon that you guys bought a specialized pot / fabric from Vietnam. I'm in Vietnam and want to buy one to bring back to the states. Can you point me to where I would be able to find it?

  17. 17

    Bonnibella — August 9, 2010 @ 12:44 am

    I didn't know they had bulk trays for banh beo. Love how you used pork rinds, for some reason a lot of people omit it.

  18. 18

    Tammy — August 9, 2010 @ 1:50 am

    Oh, lordy. I've had banh beo in Hue, in CA, in Paris, basically, wherever I can find it! So interesting to read about the process. That's all I can do because here in the south of France there's not a single one of those trays to be found…Thanks for sharing!

  19. 19

    Ana Powell — August 9, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

    Great contribution to Delicious Vietnam #4
    Loved your dish, very delicate and sublime ♥

  20. 20

    penny aka jeroxie — August 10, 2010 @ 12:02 am

    I love this!! Where can I get that pan? I like this with pickled vegetables.

  21. 21

    Zoey — August 10, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

    Yummy…I love your blog – you just motivated me to try making these myself. Thanks. :)

  22. 22

    A. Rizzi — August 12, 2010 @ 7:24 am

    Mr. Beo is a great mid-afternoon snack. Some places scoop on this pudding-like gloopy orange sauce- you ever seen? I prefer the lightness of the nuoc mam. sweet pics as always.

  23. 23

    Alisa — August 14, 2010 @ 1:32 am

    It looks delicious.I havent tried this before and I hope I could recreate.I hope you won't mind, but I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

  24. 24

    Ninette — August 15, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

    I'm back from my blogging hiatus and see that you're up to cooking unbelievably delicious food. It's good to know some things stay the same, even though your header has changed. Love the new pics of you with the pans.

  25. 25

    Fresh Local and Best — August 15, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

    I never knew about the intricacies of blending two different flours to develop a chewier thin cake. This is quite a delicacy. I adore anything with chicarrones and scallions. You guys do a really good job of demystifying such dishes.

  26. 26

    Trissa — August 17, 2010 @ 4:28 am

    You guys are such an inspiring couple. I love the dishes you make – you make vietnamese food look so elegant. I need to get some styling tips from your blog.

  27. 27

    Forager @ The Gourmet Forager — August 18, 2010 @ 4:53 am

    I haven't had the pleasure of having these before – but what's not to love?? Rice cake, prawns, pork rinds? This has got to taste amazingly good!

  28. 28

    Anonymous — August 18, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

    Where are you guys? Are you guys ok? We miss your blogs.

  29. 29

    Kitchen M — August 24, 2010 @ 3:09 am

    I love how you presented the dish. It's so beautiful!

  30. 30

    .caroline armelle. — August 31, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

    i've been waiting for this post!

    i will have to try soon. i could eat these by the dozens!

  31. 31

    alohaspirit — June 18, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I used bacon (cooked bacon broken in small pieces), cooked mung beans, green onions and fried onions for topping since I already had these on hand. I normally would use the store bought banh beo flour but I ran out. I love your flour recipe since I also had these on hand. My non-Vietnamese husband loved it with the fish sauce! So was our son.

  32. 32

    alohaspirit — June 18, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

    I ran out of the banh beo flour so I used 1 bag (16oz) of rice flour, 2 Tbsp of Tapioca starch, 2 Tbsp of corn starch. Turned out good!

  33. 33

    Karen Tran — September 6, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    I tried these over the weekend- banh beo are my all time favorite snack! But I had a problem getting the flour mixture to be smooth – any tips? Do you shift before adding water? I ended up adding another cup and a half of water and straining it through a sieve but the batter still turned out too soft and a bit gloppy. Though after steaming and letting them sit for half an hour they did set up to a better consistency than right after steaming. Thank you so much for giving me the inspiration to finally make this dish!

  34. 34

    Let Me Eat Cake — October 15, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

    i can’t wait to try out this recipe! just got back from my first vacation in Vietnam and I miss the food soooo much, this dish in particular so i’m excited to try to recreate it in my own kitchen!

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

      so glad you enjoyed the food there, good luck with it and do let us know how it goes on our facebook page!

  35. 35

    Introduction to Vietnamese water fern cake – Bánh bèo | Eating healthy, eating tasty — November 9, 2011 @ 6:30 am

    [...] 3/4 tapioca flour to 1 proportion of rice flour. All were ok indeed. From The Ravenous couple, the recipe uses the Banh beo flour and minces the shrimp. Yet, the Hue cooks believe the shrimp is better done [...]

  36. 36

    Nancy — April 1, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    Hi
    I’ve been hunting for the banh beo Chen for a long time could u please tell me where To buy it ( the white banh beo bows)

    Thank you

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — April 1st, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

      we just use the bowls for dipping sauce, works well!

  37. 37

    kim — July 13, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    Hey I have been searching for those modes with no luck :( do you know if there’s a place online that I can purchase it? Thanks!

  38. 38

    Karen — October 23, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    Ohh love this recipes. You need a book so I can stop printing these and just buy your book.

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