This Savory Rolled Cakes (Banh Cuon) recipe brings back fond memories of cooking with my Mom when I was a child. She would set up a station in our kitchen and we would make hundreds of these Savory Rolled Cakes to enjoy that day and to save for quick meals later. My Mom would pour the batter and flip out the cakes. I would fill and roll. I remember trying to roll them so they were evenly sized and perfectly smooth. To this my Mom said “Don’t worry about making them perfect. They all look the same in our stomachs.” 🙂 Ah yes, Mom’s always right. These cakes are so delicious you’ll hardly notice one that isn’t rolled perfectly because you’ll be too busy devouring them and asking for a big second-helping. The freshness of the herbs and cucumbers along with the steamed pork roll and bean sprouts makes this a refreshing yet hearty dish. I hope you enjoy this recipe for Savory Rolled Cakes (Banh Cuon).
Notes on the Savory Rolled Cakes (Banh Cuon) Recipe, Tips and Tricks
The video contains lots of tips and tricks so please check it out.
Pouring off the liquid from the top of the batter is a technique to rinse the flour. This process helps to remove any impurities from the flours and promotes a bright white cake. You’ll discard approximately 1 – 1 1/2 cups of the “dirty” liquid and replace it with the same amount of fresh water.
The fried onions and steamed pork roll (chả lụa) can be purchased at an Asian grocer. If you’d like to make your own, here’s my recipe for Steamed Pork Roll (Cha Lua).
It really helps if you have someone assisting you with this dish, but it’s very do-able by yourself as well. Set up all the ingredients and tools so they are conveniently located. This will minimize any fumbling around and you’ll be able to make the cakes quickly.
I use an 8 inch non-stick skillet. It’s nothing fancy but has a good non-stick surface. When selecting your skillet, make sure it has a solid base and sits evenly on the burner. It also helps if it’s not too heavy as your wrists will be tired from the repeated flipping. An 8 inch skillet makes a nice sized rolled cake but you can certainly use a larger pan.
If you want to make the cakes quickly and don’t care too much about the appearance, you can use a larger skillet and make the rolls without folding over the sides. To serve simply cut the rolls into smaller sections. It’s less work for sure! 🙂
For the work surface, I use a large cutting board but you can use a large plate or even baking trays. Be sure to oil the surface well and frequently. (I oil my cutting board after making 3-4 cakes.)
Stir the batter before making each cake. This helps to remove any settling typical with these flours.
As stove settings vary, it’s difficult to say which is the exact heat setting. Generally, it’s on the Low side. You’ll have to experiment to find just the right setting and you’ll know you’ve achieved the optimal temperature when the batter coats the skillet quickly and evenly. The cake should be smooth and not have large bubbles in it which indicates the skillet is too hot. Don’t worry if the first couple of cakes aren’t right. It takes a few tries to get everything dialed in.
This recipe makes a generous amount of filling. For a less meat-filled roll, use 1 heaping tablespoonful. The recipe accommodates using 2 tablespoons filling per roll. If you like less meat, you’ll have some filling leftover and you can serve it as a side.
If not serving right away, brush the rolls with a thin layer of vegetable oil and then cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist.
Store any remaining rolls in the refrigerator and they are good for up to 1 week. To reheat, warm in the microwave using Medium power.
These cakes freeze really well. Store them in a re-sealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3-months. To enjoy again, thaw and then reheat in the microwave. They will taste as good as the day they were made! (Attention Doting Parents: This is a great dish to make for your college students to take to school. They will love you (even more) for it!)
Watch the video for instructions.
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Savory Rolled Cakes / Banh Cuon
1/2 oz dried wood ear mushroom slivers (also called black fungus)
1/2 medium yellow onion, approximately 4 oz
3/4 lb ground pork
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Other Ingredients and Accompaniments
vegetable oil for cooking
bean sprouts, trimmed and washed
fresh herbs: mint, cilantro and Thail basil, plucked and washed
steamed pork roll
fish sauce dipping sauce
Making the Batter
In a large cup or bowl, combine the rice flour, tapioca starch with the room temperature water and boiling water. Whisk for a few minutes combining well. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
After resting, the batter will separate with the flours settling on the bottom and a clear liquid on the top. Carefully pour out just the clear liquid from the top into a measuring cup. Make note of the amount poured out and then discard this liquid. Measure out the same amount of fresh water and pour into the batter. Add the salt and vegetable oil into the batter. Mix well.
Making the Filling
Soak the dried wood ear mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Drain well and then finely chop.
Finely dice the yellow onion.
Season the ground pork with salt and pepper and then mix well.
Heat a wok over Medium Low heat. When hot add the ground pork and wood ear mushrooms. Cook for 5-6 minutes stir constantly. Use a spatula to break the meat into small pieces. Add the diced onions and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the filling into a clean bowl.
Making the Savory Rolled Cakes
Brush vegetable oil onto the work surface.
Heat an 8 inch non-stick skillet over Low heat until hot and then lightly oil. Pour 1/8 cup batter into the hot skillet. Swirl the skillet to coat it evenly with the batter. Cover with a lid and cook for 45 – 60 seconds. Remove the lid and flip the pan over the work surface to remove the cake. Allow to cool for 1 minute. Place a heaping tablespoonful of the meat filling at the top of the cake. Fold over the sides and then roll-up the cake. Repeat these steps to make the remaining rolled cakes.
Assembling the Savory Rolled Cakes Dish
Dunk the bean sprouts in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and drain well. Cut the cucumbers into 1/8 inch slices and then into thin strips. Coarsely chop all herbs. Cut the steamed pork roll into thin slices. Arrange the bean sprouts, cucumbers, fresh herbs and steamed pork roll on a large plate.
To serve, place a few Savory Rolled Cakes on a plate. Top with the bean sprouts, cucumbers, fresh herbs and a few slices of steamed pork roll. Top with the fried onions. Serve with a generous side of fish sauce dipping sauce.
Yields: 30-35 rolls, 4-6 servings
Don’t throw away the “mess-ups”! Cut them into smaller sections and serve with the toppings and any leftover meat filling! Yum!!