Banh Beo (Vietnamese steamed rice cakes/Water-fern cakes)-Learn how to make this Vietnamese Banh Beo with this fool-proof recipe. The cake is topped with savory topping and killer sauce.
I know you are going to freak out seeing this loooooong list of ingredients in the recipe. But let me tell you, the steamed rice cakes do not require much ingredients. You can go with all the toppings I put here or, to me, if I have either the savory shrimp toppings or meat toppings and the scallions, I’m good really! Traditionally, the banh beo also has the mung bean toppings, but I felt like I’ve done too many things late at night and so I just left the mung beans out.
Okay, now that I got that out before you close the browser, are we good ? 🙂 I got this banh beo recipe from a friend, Agnes whom I discovered on Instagram. She’s an amazing mom who has been cooking all these delicious meals for her family. She was so generous to share this banh beo recipe of her, which I found so easy to follow and I made them successfully without any difficulties. Thank you so much Agnes. Now, I can use this same recipe to whip up my other favorite Singaporean dish calls Chwee Kueh (Water cake). Chwee Kueh is filled with sweet and savory pickled turnip. The cakes have the same consistency and taste as this banh beo.
Eating them just reminded me of the first time I discovered this Banh Beo at Vietnamese grocery store. I thought those were good. Now…these are REALLY good!
Please weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.
Savory shrimp topping:
- 6 oz of large shrimp - shelled and deveined
- 1 oz of dried shrimp - soaked until soft
- 1 tsp of cooking oil
- 3 stalks of scallions - chopped
- 2 Tbsp of cooking oil
- Cooked mung bean
Ground pork/chicken topping:
Fish Sauce Dipping sauce / Nuoc Mam Cham:
- 2 red chilis - seeded if you like and finely chopped
- 2 Tbp fish sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 cloves garlic - peeled and finely minced
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2-3 Tbsp Radish and carrot pickles - optional-recipe below
Preparing Nuoc Mam Cham:
- Place the water, vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and then simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Let it cool and then store in a jar container in the refrigerator. It will keep for about a week
Preparing the savory shrimp topping:
- Place the shrimp in a medium sauce pan and cover with just enough water and cook until they turn pink. Drained and roughly chop. Put them in a food processor along with the dried shrimp you have soaked and softened. Grind them into tiny pieces. Preheat a medium skillet with cooking oil and saute the shrimp mixture until they are dry and fragrant. Remove and set aside for later
Preparing the scallions:
- Wipe the pan you use to cook the shrimp earlier. Preheat cooking oil and saute the scallions until they are soft
Preparing the pork/chicken topping:
- Mix the ground meat with fish sauce and sugar. Leave it for 30 minutes. Preheat the same pan you use to cook scallions earlier with some oil. Add in the ground meat and saute them until cook through. Break the meat up with your spatula as you are cooking it. Remove from the heat into a bowl and set aside for later use
Making the cakes:
- In a large bowl, mix together rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour & salt. Add 250 ml water and stir to mix. Add in the water which has been left 15 minutes after boiling. This step is very important. You don't want the flour to be cooked but you also don't want the water to separate from the flour, this method is to stabilize the flour and give each rice cake the dimple in the middle, like water ferns
- Prepare your steamer by adding water. Water in the steamer needs to be boiling at all time during the steaming of the rice cake. This is very important
- If you have individual condiments bowls, you can use them, or you can use mini muffin tins. Brush them with a bit of oil. Make sure you place these inside the steamer and let them steam empty for 1-2 mins, Then depending on the size of your bowls, spoon the batter to 3/4 of the bowls, ( It's easier to use measuring cup with pouts to pour the batter), close the steamer lid and steam on high for 5 minutes. I always give the batter a stir before I pour them into the bowls/cups
- Leave to cool before either taking the cake out and arrange on a plate and or you can leave them in the bowls and then fill with toppings. I used a mini rubber spatula to remove them from the bowl without any issue
- When ready to serve, sprinkle some savory shrimp, scallions, and ground meat toppings. Serve with the sauce and do chua