This dish, banh tom, is a Hanoi
specialty. The street sellers in the city and cafes along the banks of
West Lake are well known for their varied and delicious banh tom. You can
make the patties any size, small for a snack or first course, or large for
a main course; simply adjust the amount you spoon on the spatula before
frying. Traditionally, the patties are served with herb and lettuce leaves
for wrapping and a sauce for dipping.
Banh tom made with sweet potato are
particularly popular in Hanoi, but they are also very good made with
strips of winter melon or courgette (zucchini), bean sprouts or bamboo
shoots, or finely sliced cabbage leaves. Simply substitute the sweet
potato with the vegetable of your choice, add a little chili, shape into
patties and cook as before.
Plain (all purpose) flour
Fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
Spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
Small fresh shrimps, peeled and deveined
Sweet potato, peeled and cut into fine
Vegetable oil, for deep frying (add more if
Ground black pepper
Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, for
Sift the flours and baking powder into a
Add the sugar, salt and pepper. Gradually
stir in 250 ml water, until thoroughly combined.
Add the grated ginger and sliced spring
onions and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
Add the shrimps and sweet potato to the
batter and gently fold them in, making sure they are well coated. Heat
enough oil for deep frying in a wok or heavy pan. Place a heaped
tablespoon of the mixture on to a metal spatula and pat it down a
Lower it into the oil, pushing it off the
spatula so that it floats in the oil. Fry the patty for 2-3 minutes,
turning it over so that it is evenly browned. Drain on kitchen paper.
Continue with the rest of the batter,
frying the patties in small batches.
Arrange the patties on a dish, garnish
with coriander, and serve immediately with nuoc cham or another dipping
sauce of your choice.