Vietnamese Steamed Rice Noodles Sheet/Rolls (Bánh Ướt)

22 September 2023

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Vietnamese Steamed Rice Noodles Sheet/Rolls (Bánh Ướt)

What is Bánh Ướt?

Bánh Ướt are Vietnamese steamed rice sheets or rolls that come without fillings. They are a popular street food that can be enjoyed for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

These thin, delicate rice sheets/rolls are served with a variety of toppings such as cucumbers, Vietnamese ham (Chả Lụa), beansprouts and a flavorful dipping sauce, known as Nước Chấm.

Banh Uot directly translates to “wet cakes,” but they are not wet at all. The name refers to the traditional cooking method when the wet rice batter is poured onto a damp cloth for steaming.

What is the Difference between Bánh Ướt and Bánh Cuốn?

Banh Uot and Banh Cuon are two similar Vietnamese dishes that are often mistaken for each other because they are made with the same rice batter. The only difference is how they are prepared.

Banh Uot can be served in sheets or rolled up, but most importantly, it has no filling. Banh Cuon, on the other hand, is rolled up with a filling of ground pork, onions, and wood ear mushrooms.

Bánh Ướt Batter

Banh Uot is made from a thin batter of rice flour, tapioca starch, and water. Rice flour is the main ingredient, and tapioca starch is added to make the rice sheet elastic and chewy.

Rice flour and tapioca flour — the two most common starches to make Banh Uot batter

Potato starch can be used to substitute for some of the tapioca starch. I’m not a fan of too much tapioca starch so I like to replace some tapioca starch with potato starch. Potato starch helps with the elasticity but most importantly, it has more of a neutral flavor than tapioca starch.

Banh Uot batter

Different Cooking Methods for Bánh Ướt

Traditional Steaming

Banh Uot batter can be steamed on a specialized steamer with a cloth stretched over a large pot of boiling water. This is the traditional method used by street food vendors in Vietnam, but it is not the most practical for home cooks.

Frying Pan for “Steaming”

Another option is to “steam” Banh Uot in a frying pan with a lid. I have demonstrated this method in my recipe for Bánh Cuốn with step-by-step pictures. You can follow along here.

Steaming Hack for Home Cooking

In this recipe, I’ll focus on actually steaming Banh Uot with equipment that most people already have at home.

If you don’t have a cloth and steaming contraption that vendors in Vietnam use, you can still steam Banh Uot using a large skillet with a lid and two nonstick shallow baking/cake pans.

Make sure the baking pans will fit inside the skillet when covered. It’s also helpful to have multiple baking pans so that you can avoid waiting too long between making the rice sheets.

Banh Uot ready for serving

How to Make it

Step 1 – Make the Batter

Combine rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, salt and water. Mix together until flour and starches have completely dissolved. Let it sit for 30 minutes to bloom.

If you don’t the individual ingredients to make the batter from scratch, you can purchase the flour premix on Amazon.

Step 2 – Prepare Your Station for Battle Cooking

Set up your steamer.

Fill a large pot/skillet or a large steamer with about 2 inches of water.

If using a large pot/skillet, place a shallow bowl or large plate at the bottom of the pot to keep the baking sheet from sitting directly in the water.

Prepare a large plate or tray by greasing with shallot oil. Set aside. This will be used to place the finished rice rolls.

Step 3 — Steaming Bánh Ướt

Pour about ⅓ cup of batter onto the baking pan and swirl it to form a thin even layer. Cover the pot with a lid and steam for about 2 minutes, or until the batter is translucent and cooked through.

Empty baking/cake pan in a large pot

Pour patter

Cover to steam

Carefully remove the baking pan with tongs or mittens. Use a wooden chopstick to trace the outline of the rice sheet along the edges to loosen them. The wooden chopstick prevents sticking. Other materials such as metal or stainless steel have proven to be too sticky and ineffective.

Use the wooden chopstick to nudge one side of the rice sheet so you can lift it off. I find it too be much easier if you roll it off rather than trying to lift the whole sheet. If you find it too fragile, allow the rice sheet to cool for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Transfer the Banh Uot to an oiled tray and brush more with shallot oil to prevent sticking.

Repeat the above steps until batter runs out. Once you get the hang of it, you can get multiple trays going at once.

Banh Uot does require some practice, but it is not difficult to learn. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out perfectly, because that’s perfectly normal!

Like making Vietnamese sizzling crepes (Banh Xeo), the first one is always the sacrifice. Just keep trying and you’ll soon get the hang of it.

Here are some store-bought Banh Uot I got.

They came in sheets.

Step 4 — Prepare Your Dipping Sauce and Vegetables

Making the dipping sauce. Wash and prepare your vegetables. Cut up your Vietnamese ham (cha lua).

What is Served with Bánh Ướt?

Banh Uot is typically served on a plate with a variety of toppings. These toppings include:

Blanched bean sprouts

Bean sprouts

Blanched bean sprouts

Thinly sliced cucumbers — I like use Persian or English cucumbers.

Persian cucumbers, sliced and julienned

Vietnamese ham (chả lụa) — Cut into thick circular slices, wedges, or matchsticks

Vietnamese ham (chả lụa)

Vietnamese ham cut into thick circular slices, wedges, or matchsticks

Crispy fried shallots
Chopped lettuce
Vietnamese herbs such as Thai basil, mint, and Vietnamese coriander (rau răm)

Banh Uot also comes with a bowl of sauce called nước chấm. This is Vietnam’s mother sauce and it’s made with primarily fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chili peppers

How to Eat Bánh Ướt

To eat Banh Uot, drizzle the sauce over the noodles and all its topping. Give it a mix and enjoy the contrasting textures and flavors of the dish. Alternatively, you can dip the Banh Uot in the nước chấm sauce rather than pouring the sauce over the rice sheets.

Tips for a Successful Bánh Ướt

  • Whisk the batter until it is completely smooth before pouring. Rice flour and starches tend to settle at the bottom quickly. You want to evenly mix it up before every pour.

  • If you don’t have all flour and starches on hand, you can use a pre-mixed Banh Cuon flour. A really good brand is Vinh Thuan. This will save some time. The package will say Banh Cuon but it’s the same flour mixture for Banh Uot.

  • Use fried shallot oil instead of regular oil. Make your own crispy fried shallots. Then strain the oil to remove any fried bits and you instantly have shallot oil. It’s a game changer. Brush it onto the rice sheets/rolls to provide an amazing aroma and to prevent them from sticking to each other.

  • It’s crucial to clear a large counter space before steaming. Cooking Banh Uot involves an assembly line of little steps, and having everything ready and plenty of room will make things easier.

Vietnamese Steamed Rice Noodles Sheet/Rolls (Bánh Ướt)

Vietnamese Steamed Rice Noodles Sheet/Rolls (Bánh Ướt)Yield 3Author Vicky PhamPrep time5 MinCook time30 MinInactive time30 MinTotal time1 H & 5 M

Vietnamese Steamed Rice Noodles Sheet/Rolls (Bánh Ướt)

Soft, delicate, and full of flavor, bánh ướt are a Vietnamese street food that you won’t want to miss. These thin rice sheets are steamed to perfection, then served with a variety of toppings, such as cucumbers, Vietnamese ham, beansprouts, and a flavorful dipping sauce. This recipe makes 15 rolls/rice sheets.

Ingredients

Batter

Toppings

Sauce

Instructions

  1. Make the Batter. Combine rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, salt and water. Mix together until flour and starches have completely dissolved. Let it sit for 30 minutes to bloom.
  2. Prepare a large plate or tray by greasing with shallot oil. Set aside. This will be used to place the finished rice rolls.
  3. Fill a large pot/skillet or a large steamer with about 2 inches of water. If using a large pot/skillet, place a shallow bowl or plate at the bottom of the pot to keep the baking pan from sitting directly in the water. Place the baking pan inside. I’m using a 9-inch round cake pan. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Pour about ⅓ cup of batter onto the baking pan and swirl it to form a thin even layer. Cover the pot with a lid and steam for about 2 minutes, or until the batter is translucent and cooked through.
  5. Carefully remove the baking pan with tongs or mittens. Use a wooden chopstick to trace the outline of the rice sheet along the edges to loosen them. The wooden chopstick prevents sticking. Other materials such as metal or stainless steel have proven to be too sticky and ineffective.
  6. Use the wooden chopstick to nudge one side of the rice sheet so you can lift it off. I find it too be much easier if you roll it off rather than trying to lift the whole sheet. If you find it too fragile, allow the rice sheet to cool for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Transfer the Banh Uot to an oiled tray and brush the sheet or rolls with more shallot oil to prevent sticking.
  8. Repeat the above steps until batter runs out. Once you get the hang of it, you can get multiple trays going at once.
  9. Assemble 4-5 rolls or sheets per person. Top with desired vegetables and serve with a small bowl of sauce on the side for pouring or dipping and enjoy.

Notes

If you don’t the individual ingredients to make the batter from scratch, you can purchase the flour on Amazon.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

357

Fat

1 g

Sat. Fat

0 g

Carbs

82 g

Fiber

3 g

Net carbs

79 g

Sugar

1 g

Protein

5 g

Sodium

418 mg

Cholesterol

0 mg

The values provided should be considered estimates. Factors such as brands purchased, natural variations in fresh ingredients, etc. will change the nutritional information in any recipe. To obtain accurate nutritional information for a recipe, use your preferred nutrition calculator to determine nutritional information with the actual ingredients and quantities used.

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