Bánh Bèo (Vietnamese Steamed Rice Cakes)

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Bánh Bèo is packed full of Vietnamese flavors! These bite-sized steamed rice cakes, topped with shrimp, mung bean, scallion oil, and dipping sauce, make the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer for any get-together.

plate of 20 banh beo with toppings with fish sauce on the side.

Banh Beo reminds me of vibrant gatherings with family, where the table is adorned with an array of Vietnamese party foods, such as egg rolls, shrimp toast, fried rice, and che thai (a Vietnamese fruit cocktail dessert), creating a feast of flavors.

What is Banh Beo?

Banh Beo are bite-sized, creamy white rice cakes with a bit of chew. The steamed cakes are arranged on small, round dishes, forming a great canvas for an array of savory toppings.

plate of 24 banh beo.

What are the toppings?

When it comes to toppings, banh beo goes all out with minced shrimp floss, mung bean paste, and a drizzle of flavorful fish sauce. And let’s not forget the fried scallion oil (mỡ hành) – my personal favorite! So, whether you’re enjoying banh beo at a laid-back get-together, treating yourself to a snack bursting with flavor or even savoring it for breakfast, it’s the kind of food that’ll have you coming back for more!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • They’re bite-sized and full of flavor! Banh Beo is a flavor-packed dish with a combination of sweet, savory, crunchy, and creamy. Each bite is like a mini explosion of deliciousness!
  • The perfect party appetizer. These bite-sized rice cakes are not just tasty but also visually appealing, making them a perfect addition to any party or get-together. They’re like little edible decorations.
  • You can customize it however you like. You can add a variety of toppings, garnishes, and sauces to suit your taste preferences. Keep reading for more topping ideas!

Kitchen Tools Needed

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Small individual bowls or idli stand
  • Pan
  • Steamer

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, and Water are combined and steamed to make rice cakes. Sometimes, you’ll see tapioca starch called “tapioca flour.” They’re the same thing.
  • Salt: Used to season the rice cakes.
  • Oil: Used to grease the bottoms of the small bowls.
  • Fresh or Dried Shrimp: Use either fresh or dried shrimp. If you’re using dried shrimp, you’ll need to rehydrate it before frying.
  • Mung Beans: Use dried, split, shelled mung beans. For best results, soak overnight or at least 6-8 hours before cooking.
  • Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce: The dipping sauce is made with fish sauce, lime, sugar, water, and Thai chilies.
  • Scallion Oil: The scallion oil is made by adding hot oil to sliced scallions (green onions).
ingredients needed to make banh beo and toppings.

Please scroll ⬇️ to the recipe card to see the full ingredient amounts and instructions.

Let’s Make Some Banh Beo!

Soaking mung beans and dried shrimp in water.
  1. Soak the mung beans and shrimp. Soak the mung beans overnight and the dried shrimp for at least 2 hours.
two photos. process of boiling mung beans into puréed paste.
  1. Cook the mung beans into a paste. In a small saucepan, boil water and cook the mung beans until softened and easily mashed between two fingers, approximately 30 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.
two photos. shrimp in frying pan with oil. chopped shrimp in food processor.
  1. Make the shrimp floss. In a frying pan over high heat, drizzle oil and fry the rehydrated shrimp until dry, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Prep the steamer and grease the bowls. Add water to the steamer and bring it to a boil. Lightly oil each individual small bowl.
  3. Make the rice cakes. In a large bowl, whisk together rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and water. Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter into individual small bowls. Cook for 6-8 minutes.
two photos. brushing bowls with oil. mixing bowl and whisk with banh beo batter.
two photos. First, pouring banh beo batter into small bowls. Second, steamed banh beo with toppings surrounding.
  1. Make the scallion oil. In a hot pan, add oil, green onions, and salt. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Make the dipping sauce. In a small bowl, mix together fish sauce, garlic, water, sugar, lime, and chili.
  3. Serve. Top each banh beo with mung bean paste, shrimp floss, scallion oil, and a drizzle of dipping sauce.
cooked banh beo in individual small bowls topped with mung bean, shrimp, and scallion oil.

Helpful Tips

– Start the night before. Let the mung beans and dried shrimp soak for an adequate amount of time. This will rehydrate and help it cook faster.
– Grease the bowls before pouring the batter in. This makes it easier to remove the rice cakes afterwards.
– Load it up with toppings and dipping sauce!

top down of banh beo in bowls surrounded by bowls of shrimp, mung bean paste, fish sauce, and scallion oil.

Topping Variations

  • Seafood Banh Beo: Top your Banh Beo with an assortment of fresh seafood like succulent shrimp or tender squid.
  • Meaty Banh Beo: Elevate the protein content by adding seasoned ground pork or slices of flavorful char siu (Chinese barbecue pork) or savory Chinese sausage.
  • Mushroom Banh Beo: Create a vegetarian option by sautéing assorted mushrooms and piling them onto the rice cakes.

How to Serve Banh Beo

  • Traditional Presentation: Arrange the steamed banh beo on small, round dishes called “doilies,” or alternatively, remove them from the dishes for serving. Top each banh beo with a mixture of minced shrimp, mung bean paste, crispy pork skin, fried shallots, and scallion oil.
  • Accompaniments: Serve banh beo with a side of fresh herbs like mint, cilantro, and Thai basil. Also, provide a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chili.
adding fish sauce to plate full of banh beo.

Serve banh beo as part of a larger spread of Vietnamese appetizers, including spring rolls (goi cuon), grilled meats (thit nuong), and crispy Vietnamese pancakes (banh xeo).

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

What does banh beo taste like?

Banh Beo offers a delightful harmony of flavors, featuring savory shrimp, mung bean richness, and crispy shallots, all elevated by the umami essence of fish sauce. Its taste is a delightful fusion of sweet, savory, and crispy textures, delivering a distinctive Vietnamese culinary experience.

How do you eat banh beo?

It is typically served as bite-sized steamed rice cakes. You can use a spoon to pick up each delicate piece. Top it with your favorite additions like fresh herbs, chili, or additional sauces, then enjoy the explosion of flavors in one delightful mouthful.

Can I make this ahead of time?

If you’re serving this for a party, you can make this up to 1-2 days ahead of time. Keep the toppings and dipping sauce separate and add it right before serving.

spoonful of banh beo with toppings.

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerate: To store leftover Banh Beo, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate. Ensure they are covered with a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out. It lasts for about 2-3 days.

Reheat: When reheating, you can steam them for a short time to regain their soft and tender texture. You can also microwave it with a wet paper towel on top in 30-second intervals until warm.

RECIPE

plate of 20 banh beo with toppings with fish sauce on the side.

Bánh Bèo (Vietnamese Steamed Rice Cakes)

Quynh Nguyen
Bánh Bèo are Vietnamese steamed rice cakes that's packed full of flavors! These bite-sized steamed rice cakes, topped with shrimp, mung bean, scallion oil, and dipping sauce, make the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer for any get-together.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 52 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 52 minutes
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4 servings
Calories 738 kcal

Ingredients
  

Banh Beo Batter

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

For Topping

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup dried split mung beans, soaked overnight
  • ½ cup dried shrimp, soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Scallion Oil

  • ½ cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Dipping Sauce

  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or mashed
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 red bird's eye chili, thinly sliced

Instructions
 

Prepare the toppings (start the night before)

  • In a small bowl, add 1 cup of water and soak the mung beans overnight.
  • Two hours before cooking the banh beo, rehydrate the dried shrimp by soaking it in water for at least 1½-2 hours.
  • In a small saucepan, boil water and cook the mung beans until softened and easily mashed between two fingers, approximately 30 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.
  • In a frying pan over high heat, drizzle oil and fry the rehydrated shrimp until dry, about 8-10 minutes.

Make the Banh Beo Batter

  • Add water to the steamer and bring it to a boil. Lightly oil each individual small bowl.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and water. Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter into individual small bowls. Cook for 6-8 minutes.

Make the Scallion Oil

  • In a hot pan, add oil, green onions, and salt. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes.

Make the Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

  • In a small bowl, mix together fish sauce, garlic, water, sugar, lime, and chili.

Serve

  • Top each banh beo with mung bean paste, shrimp floss, scallion oil, and a drizzle of dipping sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 738kcalCarbohydrates: 100gProtein: 35gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 337mgSodium: 3655mgPotassium: 154mgFiber: 5gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 197IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 163mgIron: 4mg
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