Banh Bot Loc


Dumplings but make it advanced mode



One more in my series of delicious dumpling recipes, only this time, I’m giving you a taste of vibrant Vietnam. You know how I always want to showcase a unique dish, which is why I’m so thrilled to present to you the Vietnamese Banh Bot Loc that Anna Bui shared. Originally from Toronto, Canada, but currently living in the US, she was kind enough to share her parent’s recipe for this amazing Central Vietnamese dish. She says she grew up indulging in specialties from Vietnamese cuisine, which helped her stay connected to her root culture. And I truly think there’s no better way to communicate your origins and pride than by sharing something of your culture with the rest of the world!

Vietnamese Banh Bot Loc is a traditional steamed dumpling type, usually filled with shrimp and pork. Anna best described them as chewy dumplings made of tapioca-based dough wrapped around a filling of spiced pork belly and shrimp, dipped in a mixed sweet and tart fish sauce. You’ll need tapioca starch, pork belly, shrimp, shallot, scallion, garlic, and a bit of fish sauce for this recipe. Just make sure to get the suitable tapioca starch and amount of boiling water on your first try so you don’t end up with an ‘uncooperative dough like me! 

Giving Vietnamese Banh Bot Loc a try for the very first time, I can say I’m quite surprised by the texture. It’s kind of chewy (unlike many other dumpling varieties), and reminds of the texture of boba tea. The flavor explosion between the filling and the fish sauce, combined with the amazing smell and the balanced, vibrant colors, is a true feast for the senses. It’s definitely one of the most advanced dishes I’ve ever tried to make and while I struggled I am convinced next time around I’ll get it. 

Don’t forget to glimpse at the rest of my blogs for more unique recipes!

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For the dough

  • 400 g tapioca starch
  • 1 cup boiling hot water

For the filling

  • 200 g shrimps deveined and diced
  • 200 g pork belly diced
  • 1 tsp shallot minced
  • 1 tsp garlic mined
  • 1 tsp paprika or annatto seed powder
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste

For scallion oil

  • 4-5 scallions thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil


To make filling

  • Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Season the pork with salt, pepper, and paprika powder.
  • In a pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, sauté minced garlic/shallot till fragrant. Then add the pork and stir well for 1 minute. Add sugar, and keep stirring for 3 more minutes. Add the shrimps and season with fish sauce. Stir well and simmer on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until the pork and shrimps are nicely caramelized. Set aside to cool completely.

To make scallion oil

  • To make the scallion oil, heat the vegetable oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the chopped scallions. Stir quickly for 10 seconds and take off the heat. Alternatively, you can combine the vegetable oil and spring onion in a bowl and heat in a microwave for 15-20 seconds.

To make dough

  • Place one third of the tapioca starch (150g/ ~5 oz) in a small bowl and the rest (250g/ ~9 oz) in a large mixing bowl. Pour the boiling hot water into the small bowl. You will see the starch on the surface turn quite translucent. Stir well and you will get a half-cooked paste. Wait 1-2 minutes for it to cool down slightly. Transfer the paste to the large mixing bowl to combine with the rest of the tapioca starch. Knead well until a soft yet elastic piece of dough is formed. Place the dough in a plastic bag to prevent it from drying up.

To make dumplings

  • Pinch a piece of dough, divide and shape into 1-inch size pearls. Flatten each pearl into a 3-inch disk. Place a teaspoon (or less) of the filling in the center and fold over to form a half-moon dumpling. Pinch the edges together to seal. Try not pinching on the filling as you don’t want to tear the “wrapper”. Repeat until all the dough and filling are used.
  • Fill a large saucepan with at least 5 inches of water and bring to a boil. Gently slide the dumplings into the boiling water, one by one. Cook the dumplings until they float to the surface. Stir them around gently. Cook the dumplings in 2-3 batches to avoid overcrowding them. Then transfer them to a bowl of icing cold water, they will turn translucent. Drain well and mix with scallion oil. Garnish with chopped cilantro and chili. The dumplings might stick to each other but are easy to detach thanks to the scallion oil.
  • To serve, transfer some dumplings to a serving plate, drizzle generously with your choice of dipping sauce and enjoy!


Recipe inspired by Helen's Recipes
Course: Dinner
Region: Asia
Diet: Gluten Free


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