Monday, 2 March 2015

Banh xeo pork belly pancakes

This week at work there has been a lot of chat about unassuming and totally pointless interview questions. As we are constantly recruiting, the interview process does tend to get a little dull, and we were thinking of idiotic questions that would keep us amused and see how interviewees reacted. A couple food for thought questions such as 'Why don't we eat turkey eggs or drink pig's milk' are totally pretentious, but you would get to see a reaction and their ways of thinking to try and respond...(FYI, we don't ask these questions and if we did, we wouldn't want the correct answers we would just want the most creative ones. We're not all wankers in the ad industry, promise). Our whole office is consumed by this 'white and gold/black and blue' dress question (STILL)- if you haven't seen it already, you're obviously not at one with the INTERNET as everyone is talking about it.
I ask myself the same, infuriating question this time every year. We get all in a hubbub about Pancake day, everyone loves it and happy smiley faces stuffed with lemon and sugar, nutella, condensed milk and peanut butter (anyone? it's damn delicious) are all around. As I'm tucking into my umpteenth pancake, I always always always say...'Why don't we eat pancakes more often? They're so goddamn tasty'. It's not just about the inefficiency and low return on investment on my beautiful copper pancake pan for its annual outing, its the fact that every farmer's market, brunch menu or street food stall throughout the year I just seem to forego the pancake option and eat something else. BUT WHYYY??? We should have a bi-monthly Pancake day - raising awareness for pancake craved bellies. Maybe I could be one of those charity muggers on the street, but encouraging people to save the Pancake and its meagre one day of fame a year. As I write this I realise I've officially gone mad and this is way too into my odd train of thought for anyone reading this to care about. So I'll just stop there and talk about one of my favourite savoury pancakes from Vietnam.

Banh xeo. A 'sizzling crepe' of sorts, which is normally filled with thin slices of pork, prawns and beansprouts and is a staple on the little stalls and markets in Vietnam. Beautifully coloured to a warming yellow sunshine from a touch of turmeric, this pancake is made with rice flour, water and coconut milk. This should be as thin as a crepe, crispy on one side and light - and shared out between friends and eaten in a little hand roll of a lettuce leaf, mint and nuoc cham dipping sauce. Sensational. For this recipe, I decided to forego the beansprouts - I feel they are a little necessary for this dish (apologies for my lack of respect for the original...)  and had some caremelised pork belly to go in its place. Quick and easy. Lemon squeezy.