Banh xeo: Stuffed Sheila, Vietnamese Style: The Tribune India

Pushpesh pant

India has thousands of years of relationships with countries in Southeast Asia. From Myanmar and Vietnam to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia, the region has been referred to in the past as “Greater India”. With the political correctness and nationalist sentiments of these neighbors in mind, this usage is no longer acceptable.

There are many commonalities between Indian and Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnam is located in the region where Chinese and Indian influences intersect. This seems to have left a deep imprint on the earth’s culinary philosophy. Like the Indians and Chinese, the Vietnamese subscribe to the belief that different food ingredients have different inherent properties, which are exacerbated by the cycle of changing seasons. Great emphasis is placed on seasonally appropriate diets. The principles of Ayurveda and the concept of yin and yang were impregnated by the Vietnamese.

An interesting feature is the emphasis on a balanced meal. Protein derived from fish, poultry, or pigs is not served at all in large portions but as part of a plate that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. Starch is provided by rice or pasta. Just as it is difficult to put all Indian dishes under the “Indian” label, in Vietnam too, the food reflects great regional diversity. The Mekong River connects Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and open ports to the east and south allow access to the Indonesian archipelago and the Philippines. There are many dishes reminiscent of dolls, rolls and fried on a skewer. But the flavors are distinctly different from Thai or Malay cooking. Cultural affinities and brotherly sentiments are still well-defined. We were reminded of this during a recent visit to Cho, a restaurant specializing in Vietnamese delicacies in Mehrauli, New Delhi. The man in charge of the kitchen is the talented chef Vaibhav Bhargava, who trained for several months in Vietnam and has earned a reputation for his innovative pan-Asian presentations. We enjoyed almost everything we sampled on the tasting menu, but what stole our hearts was Banh Xiu. Translated into slang, it’s a rice-mix shila stuffed with a stuffing made from a mix of mushrooms, tofu/paneer and sprouts, and if you’re a non-vegetarian, why not do it with prawns?

A pinch of turmeric gives it a nice hue and adds a subtle exotic flavour. For many Indian diners, this is like a chilla that was popular not too long ago in the rainy season. What makes it exotic are the many layers of amazing tastes and textures – coconut milk, soy sauce, mango and tamarind. Not everything is necessary, you can pick and choose and improvise, but try this once when you step down the shower.

it’s zeo


  • Mixture
  • rice flour 1 cup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Coconut milk 1/4 cup
  • Water (Iced) 1 cup
  • the filling
  • Onion (finely chopped) 1 small
  • Mushroom (finely sliced) 100 g
  • Tofu/Paneer cubes in bite size 100gm
  • Mung/bean sprouts 1/2 cup
  • Red/yellow pepper (diced) 1/2
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sesame oil 1/4 cup
  • salt to taste
  • dipping sauce
  • Soy sauce 3 tablespoons
  • Tamarind pulp 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup raw mango (grated)
  • Lemon juice 2 tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • sugar 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic (finely chopped) 1 clove
  • 1 inch piece of ginger (chopped and chopped)


  • Mix the ingredients for the mixture in a large bowl and set it aside overnight or for at least two hours.
  • Rinse the beans well and leave them in hot water for a minute. Refresh immediately by dipping the beans in cold water. Rough cut.
  • In a medium skillet, saute tofu or paneer until golden brown, followed by remaining vegetables and sprouts. Cook for four to six minutes over medium heat. When the ingredients are cooked, leave them for the filling.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil. Add chopped onions.
  • Pour some batter in and quickly tilt and rotate the pan so a thin layer of batter spreads evenly and flakes off at the edges of the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add some filling and cover with a lid for 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, grind and mix all the ingredients for the dipping sauce to create a thick dip with a sauce-like consistency. stay aside.
  • Now check if the mixture is slightly cooked and transparent around the edges. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the crepe simmer for 3-4 minutes. You can add a little oil around the edges.
  • After the crepe turns golden on the underside, fold it in half and transfer it to a plate. Garnish with fresh lettuce, mint, cilantro or your choice of vegetables. Served with dipping sauce.

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