Recipe: Bánh Tôm

Are you hungry? Even if I were full, looking at the picture above and thinking about the crispy Vietnamese bánh tôm (sweet potato and shrimp fritter) make my mouth water. Well fret no more, it is actually one of the easiest things in the world to make. I’ve seen more complicated recipes out there, but I’m going to give you the simple one that works just as well:

Bánh Tôm


*2 cups julienned sweet potato
*1 cup unbleached flour
*1/3 cup water
*1 cup medium deveined shrimps (you can leave shell on). Pat the shrimps dry with a paper towel.
*Lettuce, cilantro, mints, and cucumber, all washed well and set aside to dry.

*In a large bowl mix flour and water together until it’s a sticky paste. If it’s too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time. Batter should not be too wet.

*Add sweet potato to the mix.

*Fill a frying pan about halfway with canola oil (any kind of oil is ok but canola is healthier) and put it on medium high heat. Don’t put it on too high or it will burn too fast, but don’t put it on too low either or the fritter will not get crispy.

*While you are waiting for the oil to heat up, cover a large frying spoon or spatula with a thin layer of the sweet potato batter. Don’t layer it too thickly or it will be soggy; you just sort of have to test a few with your particular fryer and stovetop heat.

*Add some shrimps over the batter:

*When the oil is hot enough (test this by putting one wooden chopstick into the oil; if it bubbles, it is ready), slowly slide the batter into the oil. Be careful of the splashing oil as water from the shrimp may cause this. Here’s a video of how to prepare then fry the fritter–my best advice is to stay calm!! If your heat is not super high, you will have enough time to move from one fritter to the next without too much stress:


*The higher the heat, the crispier the fritter. Leave the fritter in the oil until the shrimp is cooked and the batter is a nice golden color. Put a paper towel on your serving tray to soak up any excess oil when you remove the fritter from the frying pan. This dish is best served hot and fresh!

As you can see from the first photo, the bánh tôm is really an appetizer or snack food. It is served with a melange of lettuce (any kind), cilantro, and mints as well as the nước chấm, or fish-sauce based dipping sauce, which you can see here:


Enjoy! I know I said it’s a snack food but if you eat ten of these fritters you’ll fall into a food coma.


  1. larkie

    speaking of banh mi, i’m desperate to find one around here where the bread isn’t so buttery!

  2. Chic 'n Cheap Living

    Thanks for the easy nuoc cham recipe! I just had banh mi today and miss Vietnamese food!

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