Whoever came to South Central Coast and enjoyed the “căn” pancake for just one time would never forget this simple but moreish dish.
Coming to the South Central Coast, you would easily find the pancake since almost every restaurant sells it. The pancake has round shape and looks like the “khọt” pancake in Vung Tau, but the processes are completely different.
The ingredients used to make the “căn” pancake are quite simple. They include rice flour, sauce and green onion cooked with fat. However, to make a good “căn” pancake, we need a lot of effort and good experience.
Normally, in order to make the pancake spongy, tough and crunchy enough, people use the old rice and soak it into water for one night. The trick to have good rice flour is that when grinding the rice, we should add a little cold rice.
Making the “căn” pancake is really an art and the maker must be clever and patient. The pancake is made by pouring the flour into a terracotta mould, which has some round holes and then bake it on a soiled oven using coal.
Dry the mould on the fire until it is hot enough, then spoon the flour into each hole of the mould. The maker has to spoon the flour quickly because the pancake would be done in a very short time.
We do not need to pour the flour full of the mould but just a half, since the pancake would expand as big as the size of the hole. After the pancake is done, it would have a yellow crunchy cover outside, and the flour inside is both soft and tough.
To make the dish more delicious, people have processed many kinds of stuffing for the pancake, such as egg, meat, shrimp, and squid. Each type has its own special flavor. For “căn” pancake with meat stuffing, people chop the meat and then fry it with a little oil. After pouring the flour into the hole, add some meat in the middle of the pancake and wait until they are done.
We make other types of “căn” pancake in the same way. The pancake with squid stuffing not only has the crunchy from cover outside but also from the chopped squid. The shrimp pancake has a very moreish taste, and the pancake with egg has a very delicious yellow color.
After baking the “căn” pancake, people spread the onion cooked with fat on it, which just makes the dish become more fragrant.
The “soul” of the “căn” pancake is the sauce. We can make the sauce by diluting the fish sauce and add some garlic, chili or onion and fat.
Take a pancake with green onion on the surface, put it in a small bowl of sauce and you will see how attractive the dish is. The white color of the pancake combines with the light yellow of the egg or the light pink of the shrimp make us so desire.
Just have a bite to feel the crunchy of the cover, the soft and tough of the stuffing, the moreish of the sauce and you will have to admit that the “căn” pancake is so tasty. All of its flavors have combined to create such an unforgettable dish, which has attracted many customers who once came to the South Central Coast.