Spring is most definitely in the air, and that can only mean one thing: a move away from the comfort dishes of winter towards the fresh, zingy flavours of warmer times.
And if there’s one dish I really love for its ability to conjure up feelings of balmier climates and exotic flavours, it’s these Vietnamese crêpes with crab and samphire – or Banh Xeo to give them their correct name.
These savoury pancakes, made from rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric, are traditionally stuffed with pork, shrimp, diced green onion and bean sprouts.
However, for this dish I’ve paired them with crab and samphire, and judging by the response from our diners at Facebook HQ it’s a match made in heaven.
Fresh crab is without a doubt one of the jewels offered up from the British coastline, and it works beautifully with the delicate lacy texture of the crêpes.
I love the unique flavour and texture of samphire. Full of crisp saltiness, it’s unmistakeably the flavour of the sea.
Vietnamese Banh Xeo with crab and samphire
|spraying oil||2 squirts|
|samphire with any woody stalks removed||500g|
|freshly picked white crab meat||2kg|
|sweet chilli sauce||75ml|
|spring onions, shredded on the angle||30|
|bunch coriander, washed and dried||1|
To make the crêpes, put the flour and turmeric in a bowl with the eggs and slowly whisk in enough coconut milk to make a smooth batter. Season with salt. Blanch the samphire in boiling water for 10 seconds then drain and refresh under a cold tap. Spray oil on the non-stick pan, pour in pancake mixture and turn the pan from side to side to spread the mixture evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until crisp. Remove with a spatula on to some kitchen paper and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. To serve, spread the crab mixture on the pancakes then arrange the samphire and herbs on top.