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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bánh Quai Vạc (Vietnamese Pork and Shrimp Dumplings)

Once again, five of us gathered at my humbled kitchen to try our hands at Bánh Quai Vạc. I can see the hunger in the girls' eyes and their hands were writhing with eagerness to kneed that dough. We used 5 bags of flour and made two different fillings: Pork, Shrimp filling and Mung Bean paste filling. While all of us were making dumplings in the kitchen, the kids were in their own world, mostly playing the Wii. After a while, they suddenly became interested in seeing us work. They all gathered around and wanted to help us out. They became our official food critics and the results were encouraging . . . they ate everything. 

While we continue to assemble dumplings, we boiled the first batch to see how our Bánh Quai Vạc would turn out; once done, the kids ate them all. They wanted more, so we cooked another batch to sastify their tummies. I was a bit surprised because I thought the kids wouldn't like this type of banh due to the chewiness of the dumpling skin. 

The hardest part of making Bánh Quai Vạc is making the dough. The water has to be boiling while pouring it into flour. You have to kneed the flour right away and kneed it fast before it dries out. When the dough doesn't stick to your hands and it's soft, it's ready to use. 

Don't worry if your dough doesn't turn out right; it may take several tries so be sure to have plenty of spare flour. If all else fail, you can come to the demo next time :-). Have fun!
RECIPE: Bánh Quai Vạc

For the Dough
1 bag Banh Bot Loc Flour
1 cup Boiling Water

For the Pork and Shrimps Filling
1/4 pound of  Lean Pork, cut into small cubes
1/4 pound of Shrimp, deveined, cut into 3-4 pieces
1/4 cup of shredded Wood Ear Mushroom, soaked, optional
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
2 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2-3 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Shallots, finely sliced
1 tablespoon Oil

For the Mung Bean Paste Filling
1/4 bag of Mung Bean (split and peeled ), soaked
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper
2 teaspoons of Fried Shallots 

For Scallion Oil 
3-4 Spring Onion (hành lá), finely chopped
1 clove of Garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon Oil

For Dried Shrimp, for garnish, optional
1/4 cup of Dried Shrimps
Red Food Color

Fried Shallot, for garnish, optional

For Dipping Fish Sauce
click here for the recipe


Making Scallions Oil 

Heat a tablespoon of oil and garlic in a pan (̣using garlic will add a lot of fragrance to the oil). When garlic is golden brown, turn off the heat.  Add chopped green onion and remove it from heat. Set it aside.
Making Dried Shrimp

Soak dried shrimps with warm red color water (add a few drops of red food color into the water). In about 20 minutes, rinse and drain shrimps and grind them in a food processor until they're puffy. Pour it in a pan and fry for about 5 minutes or until dry. 
Making Dough

Empty a bag of flour in a mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the flour. Kneed it with your hand palms until dough doesn't stick to the bowl or your hands. Dough should be warm and soft. Put it in a Ziploc bag to keep it from being dried.
Making Pork and Shrimp Filling

Heat oil in a pan, add garlic, shallots and stir until it's golden. Add the remaining ingredients and simmers for about 20-30 minutes. If need it, adjust sugar and salt until the meat tastes sweet and salty. When the sauce becomes thick and coats the pork and shrimp and the color changes to brown, remove from heat.
Making Mung Bean Paste Filling

Rinse mung beans a few times.  In a pot, add water about 1/2 inch above the beans and bring to boil. Add more water if necessary. Reduce the heat to low, stir it and cover it with a lid. Cook for about 10 minutes or until soft. Mash it. Add the remaining ingredients to the beans pot and mix them well. Add a little more salt if it's not salty enough. If it's too dry, add a little bit more of hot water.
Assembling Dumplings

Make a small ball of dough about a size of a walnut. Use your thumbs and index to press it down to make a flat circle or you can use a dough roller to roll it out into a flat circle . Add some meat or bean paste (not too much or it will burst when you boil it) on the middle of the circle dough. Fold dough over to make a half circle. Press down the edge of the half circle to close it up. Repeat this step until no more dough and filling are gone. 

To make perfect circles, we used circle cookie cutters as you've seen in the picture. I bought a set of 3 cookie cutters at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $4.
Cooking Dumplings

Set aside a large bowl of cold or ice water.

Bring a pot of water to boil. While the water is boiling, add raw dumplings in it, lower the heat down to medium high. Boiling water could cause the bánh quai vạc to burst.

When dumplings are floating, wait for about 5 minutes or until dumplings are cooked before removing them with a strainer and pour them into a bowl of cold or ice water. Let them cool down for about 30 seconds, then scoop them up with a strainer and add them in a scallion oil pan.

Place bánh quai vạc on a plate and top with dried shrimps and fried shallot. Serve bánh quai vạc with dipping fish sauce. 



  1. What you're making here is the shape of 'banh quai vac', but the final product look like 'banh bot loc' with fillings of 'banh quai vac' as i haven't seen 'banh quai vac' boiled. they are fried, and those who are health conscious baked them.

  2. I appreciate your comment. However, Banh Quai Vac can be boiled or fried and even baked as you mentioned. Fundamentally, BBL and BQV are the same. BQV are never wrapped in banana leaf and BBL can be both, the wrapped ones are called BBL gói lá chuối.

  3. Loan rành tiếng Việt hơn tiếng Anh đó mà ☻

  4. Chị Loan ơi, em thích ăn bánh này lắm, nhưng mà khổ nỗi em không có máy nhào bột. Hơn nữa, lúc em nhào bằng tay, cục bột của em hay bị khô và bể, không thể nào đủ mềm để nặn bánh. Em phải chịu khó để bột hơi nhão 1 chút thì em mới nặn bánh được. Nhưng mà như vậy thì lúc luộc bánh sẽ mau bị nhão và rách vỏ. Chị có thể chỉ cho em cách nhào bột như thế nào để bột vừa đủ độ mềm, vừa dẻo được ko hả chị? em cám ơn chị nhiều!

  5. Hi Kim, khi nhoi bot, cai quan trong nhat la water phai la nuoc soi (boiling water). Khi Loan lam banh bot loc, hay banh bao, Loan thich nhoi bang tay hon vi khi nhoi bang tay, Loan co the cam nhan duoc bot vua du do mem hay chua. Khi do nuoc vo bot, Kim de lai mot chut nuoc. Neu cam thay bot con kho thi add them nuoc vo tu tu nhung nho la use nuoc con dang soi nhen. Kim lam di roi cho L hay.

  6. Hello, if I don't have the Banh Bot Loc flour mix, can I use straight tapioca flour?

    1. Yes, you can use tapioca flour. It's what I use most of the time.

  7. Hi, do u know if I can make these then freeze it, then cook it on a different day?

  8. You can freeze it for months. You don't need to thaw it at all. Just add the frozen Banh to boiling water.

  9. I am so glad to have found your WONDERFUL BLOG. Thank you very much for your kindness and sharing us the amazing recipes. You have done great job and please keep it up ☺😊