Fried savory cake (bánh rán mặn)

We had a team retreat at work, and the first question everyone asked was: Which hobby did you pick up during the pandemic?

Here is mine: showy yoga poses 😉

Coming up next: full split and handstand.

Vietnamese fried savory cake (bánh rán mặn)

(Adapted from Vanh Khuyen)

2 small potatoes
300 g glutenous rice flour
70 g rice flour
2/3 tsp baking powder
30 g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
300 ml hot water
1 tbs canola oil

1 lbs ground pork
1/2 carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
1/4 kohlrabi (peeled and finely chopped)
5 scallions (white and green separated, finely chopped)
3 dried wood ear mushrooms (soaked in warm water, finely chopped)
6 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked in warm water, finely chopped)
1 small bunch of glass noodles (soaked in warm water for 3 minutes, drained and cut into 1″ length)
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Dipping sauce:
1/2 small carrot (peeled and julienned)
1/4 kohlrabi (peeled, thinly sliced)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 tsp rice vinegar
6 tbs sparking water
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs fish sauce (or more to taste)

To serve:
Fresh vegetables (lettuce, coriander, Vietnamese perilla, etc.)

To make the dough:

  1. In a small pot, boil potatoes with water.
  2. Peel and small cooked potatoes with a spoon. Take 220 g.
  3. In a large plastic bag, mix glutenous rice flour + rice flour + baking powder + sugar + salt + hot water.
  4. Knead the dough in the plastic bag for 3-4 minutes.
    • Note: add 1-2 tbs hot water if necessarily.
  5. Add 1 tbs canola oil to the dough and knead for another minute.
    • Note: the dough should be soft.
  6. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
    • Note: During this time, make the filling.
  7. Add 220 g smashed potatoes and knead the dough in the plastic bag for a minute.
  8. Turn to the countertop and knead by hand until soft and smooth.
    • Note: The dough will be sticky, so add 2 tbs glutenous flour or more.
  9. Cover in plastic wrap.
  10. Let the dough rest for another 10 minutes.

To make the filling:

  1. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tbs canola oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chopped scallions (white parts only) and fry until fragrant.
  3. Add marinated ground pork and fry for a minute.
  4. Add chopped carrots + chopped kohlrabi and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add chopped wood ears + chopped shiitake and cook until the mixture is slightly cooked.
  6. Remove from the heat.
  7. Add 1 tbs fish sauce + 1 tbs oyster sauce. Mix well.
  8. Add chopped glass noodles + chopped scallions (green part).
  9. Add 1/2 tsp ground pepper.
  10. Let it cool completely.

To make the dipping sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, marinate carrot + kohlrabi + 1/4 tsp salt + 1 tsp sugar + 3 tsp vinegar.
  2. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 6 tbs sparking water + 1 tbs sugar + 2 tbs fish sauce.
  4. Add marinated carrots and kohlrabi to the dipping sauce.

To make the savory cakes:

  1. Take a piece of dough, the size of a golf ball, and flatten it thinly.
  2. Spoon the filling on to the center of the dough and seal the edges.
  3. Roll the cake between your palms to squeeze out all air bubbles.
  4. Set the cake aside and continue to finish the remaining dough and fillings.
  5. In a large skillet, fill canola oil to about 1″ depth.
  6. Heat under low-medium heat.
  7. Fry savory cakes until golden (about 25 minutes).
    • Note 1: the cakes will expand so make sure not to put too many cakes into the skillet.
    • Note 2: roll the cakes around so all sides are golden.
    • Note 3: to achieve a crunchy outer crust, turn the heat to high during the last 4-5 minutes.
  8. Drain the fried cakes on a rack.
  9. Serve hot with dipping sauce and fresh vegetables.