Steamed Rice Cakes w/ Shrimp

During this visit, I got a chance to make another one of my fav dishes, bánh bèo (steamed rice cake), which my mom usually makes for us.  It’s kind of a hassle to make, but we get everyone in the family involved so it’s more fun. Other people sometimes grind the shrimp up in a food processor, but my mom likes to keep it chunkier so we take the extra effort to pound it up. It’s also super time consuming to steam the rice flour cakes themselves, so we just buy it at a store.

Steamed Rice Cakes w/ Shrimp (Bánh Bèo)
(serves 12)

4 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
300 bánh bèo (you can buy them at special Vietnamese stores)
4 cups scallion oil (4 bunches of scallions)
dipping fish sauce, to serve

  1. Marinate shrimp with onions, pepper, salt, and garlic powder.  Let it sit in the fridge overnight.
  2. Heat oil in a pan at medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, throw in the shrimp and cook for 5-10 minutes or until pink, but not fully cooked.
  3. Take pan off the heat and pound out shrimp (with a meat tenderizer or a long cup) in a separate bowl about 1 cup at a time until broken up.
  4. Throw the pounded up shrimp back in the pan and heat on medium-high to continue to cook and evaporate the liquid.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone.
  5. Take pan off the heat and pound out the shrimp some more about 1 cup at a time.  Make sure the shrimp is thoroughly pounded out this time.
  6. Put the pounded up shrimp back in the pan and heat on medium-low until all the liquid is gone, about 10-15 minutes, then remove from heat.
  7. Arrange bánh bèo onto a plate.  On top of each one, put some scallion oil and pounded up shrimp.  Pour some dipping fish sauce on top and proceed to devour it all.

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