Coconut Milk: Vietnamese Waffles – Banh Kep La Dua

Banh kep la dua

Sunday is my day to chill out. It’s a leisurely day where I let the pace be what it maywhether it’s sleeping in, reading curled up on the sofa or taking my time folding laundry. Some Sundays I am eager to cook up a feast, never mind that it takes 1 or 4 hours. Other times, laziness sneaks in and I want someone else to break out their pots and pans.

Frequently that someone is New Saigon, my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Denver.

One of the perks of going there on the weekend is that they now serve waffles. These are not the kind of waffles you’d drench in butter and syrup. They are Vietnamese waffles, banh kep la dua – a sweet treat that is served up by Vietnamese homecooks and street food vendors. It’s eaten naked, like a pastry, and is the perfect dessert after my usual meal of spicy lemongrass chicken and vegetables.

Banh kep la dua are made with coconut milk and pandan. The coconut milk is why the recipe is featured with this series and the reason these waffles are so special.

Pandan is a tropical plant frequently used in Southeast Asian cookery and makes its way into many desserts. You can tell by the signature bright green hue (which is a combination of natural color and added food coloring). Pandan tastes and smells sweet and floral.

Last Sunday was a lazy one. My husband and I had lunch at New Saigon. This time, however, I skipped my regular waffle for the first time in months. Because of you, I’ve been tinkering with recipes for several weeks and am waffled out. I’ve created a recipe for Vietnamese waffles that’s crispy and light like the version I’ve come accustomed to on Sunday afternoons.

Re the recipe:  Nearly all the other Vietnamese waffle recipes online use only AP flour (all-purpose) and attempt to get that crispy, light texture by using cornstarch and baking powder or cream of tartar.  I found some references to Vietnamese cooks using only rice flour, but that made waffles that were too light and airy. I prefer a combination of the two for a lighter but more structured waffle.

How to eat a Vietnamese Waffle?

The first time I ate banh kep la dua, it was served hot on a plate. I was sharing it with freinds at the table and wasn’t sure how I was going to split it with my chopsticks from lunch.  The waitress brought us one fork and, because I still looked perplexed, she quickly quartered the waffle and gave everyone at the table a piece in-hand.

It was and still is the best naked waffle whether you eat it with . . . a fork, fingers or chopsticks.

Banh Kep La Dua

Banh Kep La Dua

Vietnamese Coconut Milk Waffles – Banh Kep La Dua

Makes about 4 waffles

This recipe for Vietnamese waffles calls for rice flour, which makes for a crispy, light and puffy texture. If you can’t locate rice flour, I’ve also used tapioca flour as a substitute. You could also use all-purpose flour entirely, although the waffles will be a little more dense.

Recipe can be doubled.

Ingredients

1 egg beaten

¾ cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon butter

½ teaspoon pandan extract

¼ cup rice flour

½ cup all purpose flour

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

Oil/spray for greasing waffle iron

Method

Preheat waffle iron – medium, high heat.

In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork or whisk. If using canned coconut milk, shake can well before opening, then stir well before measuring. Add coconut milk, butter and pandan to the bowl. Mix well.

In a larger, separate bowl, mix the flours, sugar, baking powder sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, folding until incorporated and smooth; do not over-mix.

When the waffle iron is hot, lightly oil the top/bottom waffle grids. Spoon batter into the center of each quadrant of the waffle iron. Close the lid and cook until slightly golden and crisp. (Note:  if you plan to reheat waffles later, slightly undercook initially, and reheat in the waffle iron or toaster.)

Serve warm as a dessert or a snack. Eat with fork, fingers or chopsticks.

Variations

Rice Flour:  substitute with tapioca or all-purpose flour

Pandan:  substitute with vanilla extract; you’ll lose the green color and floral flavor

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18 Responses to Coconut Milk: Vietnamese Waffles – Banh Kep La Dua

  1. Hmmm, I’m starting to feel very uncultured every time I come here. You are introducing me to a lot of new things! (Although I do have some rice flour in the cupboard. Do I get points for that?)

  2. Lea Ann says:

    I am totally impressed that you made those waffles! I’ve never heard of them. Where is New Saigon?

  3. Yvette says:

    When I first saw the photos I thought they were for St. Patrick’s Day…LOL. They sounds very yummy and I will have to try New Saigon!

  4. Ginny says:

    Wow. I agree with Lentil Breakdown. Can’t WAIT to try these.

  5. These are just beautiful!

  6. Karen Harris says:

    Now I know what I can do with that bottle of pandan that I bought at HMart. I just love the way it smells. Your waffles sound delicious.

  7. Mike says:

    We love waffles in my wife’s family.

    When my MIL comes back home from wintering, we will have to try these.

    Thanks, great blog!

  8. My husband and I love Vietnamese food, but now that I think about it…I’ve only ever had Vietnamese for dinner. I had no idea about these waffles. Seeing how we love breakfast even more than we do Vietnamese, this might be a great treat!

  9. I have never seen Pandan extract in Mexico, but I want to try these waffles anyway. Anything with coconut is a winner in my kitchen and on the table!

    Is the green color in the extract a natural color?

    Kathleen

  10. Kim says:

    Wow – I AM Vietnamese, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had these!!!

    It looks delightful.

    Tip – We Vietnamese put rice flour into our baguettes to make the “banh mi” sandwich more light and airy. :-)

    [K]

  11. Cher says:

    I love the color in your photos! These are yummy waffles!

  12. Rose says:

    The waffles look great and delicious!. I have been looking for a recipe for this since I started getting them at Cam Huong in Chinatown Oakland. Can I use freshly grated cassava instead of the tapioca flour. If yes, would you know the consistency?

  13. Susie says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I just made the waffles and they were delicious! I only made one serving though, and they weren’t enough for all of us so now I’m making more. Thanks again!

  14. Vivian says:

    I love how you post up recipes with photos :) I go to my local market plaza & it has gone up $. So I rather make it from scratch. & Yes I am Vietnamese but also Chinese!

  15. [...] perfect reason to learn. So we bought a waffle maker. So I did some research and found a recipe for Vietnamese Coconut Milk that brought back so many great memories back [...]

  16. Stacy says:

    My kids loves these waffle and always want some when we go to San Jose. How can I make it using the normal waffle mix? Thanks.

  17. google plus application…

    Coconut Milk: Vietnamese Waffles | Fork Fingers Chopsticks…

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