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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple Vietnamese recipes

A rice crepe, or pancake, is filled with

A rice crepe, or pancake, is filled with cooked chicken and bean sprouts and eaten rolled in a lettuce leaf. Credit: Marge Perry

RICE PANCAKE WITH CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES (BAHN XEO)

1 cup rice flour

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 cups water

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 scallion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons canola oil, divided

2 cups cooked shredded chicken, divided

2 cups fresh bean sprouts, divided

Romaine lettuce leaves

Fresh mint sprigs

Fresh cilantro sprigs

1. Combine the rice flour, turmeric and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the water and coconut milk until smooth; stir in the scallion. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 24 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.

3. Make the sauce: combine the sugar, lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce, garlic, pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons warm water in a bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

4. Heat 1/2 teaspoon canola oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir the crepe batter and pour a scant 1/2 cup of it into the skillet, tilting the pan to coat the bottom. Immediately top half of the crepe with 1/4 cup of the chicken and 1/4 cup of the sprouts. Cover and cook until the crepe begins to brown around the edges, 3 minutes. Remove the cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the bottom of the crepe is crisp, about 3 minutes longer. Fold the empty half of the crepe over the filling and slide on to a sheet pan. Place in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter, being sure to stir it before each addition, adding oil to the skillet after every 2 crepes.

5. To serve, place 2 filled crepes onto each of 4 plates. Cut each crepe into 3 or 4 pieces and serve with the romaine and herbs. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 351 calories, 26 g protein, 48 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 857 mg sodium

TIP: To eat the rice pancake, cut it in 3 to 4 pieces and roll each piece in a romaine leaf with fresh herbs; dip in the sauce.

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HOISIN BEEF BANH MI

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 pound lean ground beef

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1/2 teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/4 cup chopped scallions

4 (6-inch) lengths baguette, split horizontally

1/3 cup canola mayonnaise

1 cucumber, peeled and cut lengthwise into 4 slices

1/3 cup cilantro leaves

1/3 cup basil leaves

1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the carrots and cabbage. Allow to stand while you make the filling.

2. Combine the beef, hoisin and sriracha in a bowl.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the scallions and cook 1 minute. Add the beef and cook, breaking into crumbles with your spoon, until it is lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

4. Drain the cabbage-carrot mixture.

5. Spread the cut surfaces of the rolls with the mayonnaise. Place a cucumber slice, the beef, pickled cabbage and carrots, cilantro and basil leaves on each bottom half.. Close the sandwiches, cut across in half, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 574 calories, 32 g protein, 68 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 19 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 1097 mg sodium

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GRILLED SHRIMP SKEWERS WITH VIETNAMESE DIPPING SAUCE

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 small clove garlic, finely minced

1/2 small serrano chili, thinly sliced across

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled

1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1. Soak wooden skewers in water 20 to 40 minutes (depending on thickness).

2. Combine the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and vinegar in a small bowl; stir in 2 tablespoons hot tap water until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the garlic and serrano and set aside.

3. Toss the shrimp with oil; when thoroughly coated, season with the salt and pepper. Thread on the skewers.

4. Heat a well-seasoned grill pan over medium. Place the skewers on the pan in a single layer, working in batches if necessary. Grill the shrimp 2 minutes on each side until just cooked through.

5. Serve the skewers with the dipping sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 205 calories, 24 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 5 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 1369 mg sodium

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