As I am getting back in to the swing of things, these are trứng chiên rau thơm, or herby pancakes, from Andrea Nguyen‘s amazing Ever-green Vietnamese cookbook. I was expecting a lot from this book and it truly delivered.
Andrea starts her book off with a chapter on plant-based Vietnamese pantry items, from making your own vegan fish sauce to sate and hoisin sauce and more. Before delving into a variety of vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese dishes, from classics to more modern options, like the grilled rice paper pizza which I am eager to try. Surprisingly there are still a few recipes in this book that include meat (chicken specifically), but I swear there’s not even five of them so if you don’t eat meat those are easily ignored or adjusted to better suit your needs.
Vietnamese herby green egg pancakes
These herby green egg pancakes caught my eye immediately because they are loaded with herbs and I do love me an overtly fresh herb situation. Because they require previously cooked leafy greens, they also sound like a great way to use up any greens lingering in the fridge.
I was not disappointed. They remind me very much of perkedel kol bunga, as the foundation is pretty much the same (a finely chopped vegetable, coated in a thin egg and corn flour based batter, fried in vegetable oil), with more added flavors, so I am very happy with the outcome. Andrea serves hers with Viet-chile or chili-garlic sauce, recipes which she includes in her book, but okays store-bought sriracha as well, so that’s what I had them with.
How to serve trứng chiên rau thơm
I was so focused on just making this I forgot about turning it into a full meal. Andrea recommends having these with rice or sticking them on a sandwich and both of those options sound pretty good to me. I stuck left-overs from this shoot on a pita (thought I think some French bread would’ve been better, but we were out) with some hoisin sauce. While that wasn’t suggested it worked out a treat. This is definitely one of those recipes that is easy and packed with flavor and will be in heavy rotation from here on out.
For smaller households: I’ve posted the amounts for this recipe as they appear in the book below. I halved the recipe and that also came out fine.
Trứng chiên rau thơm (Vietnamese herby green eggpancakes)
- Saucepan for cooking the leafy greens, if not previously cooked
- cutting board
- mixing bowl
- Frying pan 12" or 30cm ⌀
- 1/4 c measuring cup a serving spoon will also work
For the Vietnamese herby green egg pancakes
- 2 C lightly packed cooked leafy greens I used savoy cabbage, Andrea suggests kale, chard or collards for example
- 1 C packed chopped fresh herbs I used dill, cilantro and chives, Andrea also suggests garlic chives, Vietnamese shiso or wild pepper leaves
- 1 T fish sauce vegan store-bought fish sauce or soy sauce are also fine
- 2 T corn starch
- 1 t black pepper freshly ground preferred
- pinch salt optional, to taste
- 6 large eggs
- 4-5 T neutral oil sunflower, canola or peanut for example
- If you bought fresh leafy greens for this and aren't using left-overs, be sure to prepare these first. I cut up a few leaves of savoy cabbage and cooked them for 5 minutes in salted boiling water before draining thoroughly. If using any other leafy green please use Google to find the best way to prep them.
To make herby green egg pancakes
- Pour of any cooking liquid from your 2 C of pre-cooked leafy greens, they don't have to be completely dry just make sure they're not swimming in liquid.
- Chop the greens into medium small pieces and place them into a medium-sized bowl with 1 C of chopped mixed herbs, season with 1 T of fish sauce and some good grinds of black pepper, taste and season with salt if necessary. There should be a mild savouriness to the mixture. I found the salinity from the fish sauce was enough to provide that and didn't add any salt.
- Mix in 2 T of corn starch until dissolved.
- Add 6 eggs and mix to coat everything evenly.
- Preheat a 12" or 30 cm ⌀ frying pan and add 2 T of neutral oil to lightly coat the bottom.
- Once the oil starts to ripple, use a 1/4 c measuring cup or serving spoon to scoop the egg mixture from the bowl into the pan, depositing 3 to 4 scoops into the pan to create separate pancakes. Spread them out slightly with the bottom of your scooper. Some of the egg should drizzle out to crate frilly edges.
- Pan-fry the pancakes and flip after a minute or 2 or when the edges look golden brown and crisp, and cook for another minute or so on the other side. Move to a platter or rack. Add some additional oil to your pan until you've used up all the batter and have a nice stack of trứng chiên rau thơm.
- Serve with rice or on some bread with sriracha, hoisin sauce, Viet-chili or chili-garlic sauce.
- Andrea's herby green egg pancakes will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Just let them get back to room temperature before briefly refrying them to get those crispy edges back.
- If you like, according to the recipe, you can also add a spring onion cut into thin rings.
- While researching what trứng chiên rau thơm are supposed to look like (there is no photo in the book), I saw some people make one big pancake and cut it up into wedges, so if you are so inclined that's an option too.
- I think if you change the herbs, for example to basil, thyme, oregano, sage and the like, and maybe nix the fish or soy sauce (or not even because they are stellar seasonings) you could end up with a lovely Mediterranean affair on your plate.