"Banh xeo (bahn SAY-oh) is a popular street snack in Vietnam, especially in the south. The name means sound crepe, and refers to the sound the batter makes when it hits the hot skillet. Serve with fresh herbs. The shrimp-studded crepe is rolled up in a leaf of lettuce and dipped in nuoc cham dipping sauce before it gets popped in your mouth."
Mix rice flour, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and turmeric together in a large bowl. Beat in coconut milk to make a thick batter. Slowly beat in water until batter is the consistency of a thin crepe batter.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic; cook and stir until fragrant but not browning, 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp; saute until cooked through and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with fish sauce and salt. Transfer filling to a bowl.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
Wipe out skillet and reheat over medium heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon oil. Stir crepe batter and pour 1/2 cup into the hot skillet, swirling to coat the bottom. Lay 3 or 4 of the cooked shrimp on the bottom half of the crepe. Top with a small handful of bean sprouts. Cook until batter looks set and edges start to brown, about 1 minute. Fold crepe over and slide onto an oven-safe plate.
Place crepe in the preheated oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter and filling.
Serve lettuce leaves alongside filled crepes. Break off pieces of crepe and roll up in lettuce leaves to eat.
You can add 1 to 2 chopped scallions to the crepe batter if desired. Substitute scallions for the shallots in the filling if preferred. You can also add sauteed mushrooms to the filling if you like.
For pork banh xeo: Substitute half of the shrimp with pork loin or pork belly cut in thin strips. Saute the shallots and garlic first, add the pork and cook until no longer pink, then add the shrimp.
For vegetarian banh xeo: Substitute shredded, fried tofu for the shrimp to make a vegetarian version. Add a variety of mushrooms to give it a meaty flavor. Use soy sauce instead of fish sauce.
For banh xeo with eggs: Beat 4 to 5 eggs and pour a little over each crepe after you add the batter to the skillet, but before you add the fillings. Cover the pan for about a minute to let the egg set, then continue with the filling ingredients.