Vietnamese Pancakes

Trying to chase down authentic south-east Asian fare in London can be difficult at times- Thai curries that feel heavy and stodgy, noodles that clearly have been fried to death with added sugar, or starters that have drowned in too much stagnant oil. Both of us have chased the Asian foodie trail in our early 20s- Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, this has been a big inspiration when creating menus and new recipes, to swerve towards these exotic, fresh and delicious dishes. Dishes that are naturally quite healthy and exciting- but sadly the western world has put an unhealthy spin on them. This week we went to the much spoken about Som Saa in Spitalfields commercial street and had a truly mind-blowing dinner, such a rarity to find a place like this in London; taking you straight back to the authentic flavors of island life in Thai land, an evocative experience. Started by Andy Oliver- a creative genius chef- exactly what we’ve been wanting. Andy Oliver spent a few years cooking and learning in Bangkok after university and got the restaurant crowd funded, which is a true testament to the place. We Feasting on jungle curry, whole deep-fried sea bass, fiery papaya salad, smokey aubergine salad- You can taste and see all ingredients! This take on a Vietnamese pancake is an ideal and fun little dish to make this weekend, packed full of flavor and color, but also freshness, crunch and a punch- which is pretty optimal when chasing the south-east Asian dream. The pancake feels light, using rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric- this mixture is good for you! Naturally gluten-free, antioxidant and with the coconut milk being highly nutritious and high in fiber. We chose minced pork, complimenting the fresh and crispness of the salad- right amount of fat vs fresh. But if you would prefer to go for something leaner then chicken works well, so does prawns or even tofu- especially crispy chili fried tofu.


    Pancake mix
    1 egg
    80 grams rice flour
    100 ml coconut milk
    100 ml water
    4 spring onions, finely chopped 
    1 tsp turmeric 
    good pinch sea salt

    1 shallot, finely chopped
    2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
    3 garlic, sliced
    minced pork
    2 tsp Chinese five spice  
    toasted sesame seeds
    small bunch coriander, keep whole (stalks and all)
    small bunch mint, leaves picked
    1 gem lettuce, shredded
    5 sugar snaps, sliced width ways
    half avocado, small cubes
    3 radishes, sliced thinely 
    2 chilies, deseeded and finely sliced

    Dipping sauce
    1 hot chilli, seeded and minced
    1 garlic, minced
     tbsp. maple syrup
    1 tbsp rice wine vinegar 
    2 tbs lime juice
    2 tbs fish sauce
    1 tbs water
    half shallot, finely sliced


1. Mix your pancake batter together and put aside (preferably for 20 mins). 2. Sautee your shallot, ginger, garlic, and chili together in groundnut oil on a medium heat. 3. Once translucent add your mince and stir-fry increasing the heat and adding five spice and sesame seeds. Take off once broken down and crisp. 5-10 mins. 4. Heat a none stick medium pan and add a little oil. Put a few tbsp of your pancake mix in and swirl it around to get a thin pancake. Cook until bubbles start forming and the base starts crisping, around 3-5 mins. 5. Transfer to your plate, making up as many as you like. In one bowl mix your salad and herbs together, the other your mince mixture and lastly a bowl with your dipping sauce. Create your own pancake, spooning from each bowl.