Easy Banh Bot Loc Tran Recipe: From Scratch to Serving

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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We’re diving into the heart of Vietnamese cuisine with a delightful journey into making Banh Bot Loc Tran, a dish that’s as fun to say as it is to eat. This traditional snack wraps a savory filling in a beautifully translucent dough, creating a bite-sized morsel that’s bursting with flavor. Originating from the central regions of Vietnam, it’s a testament to the simplicity and elegance of Vietnamese cooking, where every ingredient is treated with respect and care.

As we explore this recipe, we’ll uncover the secrets to achieving that perfect chewy texture and how to balance the filling for that irresistible umami kick. Whether you’re a seasoned pro in the kitchen or trying your hand at Vietnamese cuisine for the first time, Banh Bot Loc Tran promises an exciting culinary adventure. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and bring a taste of Vietnam right into our kitchens.

Ingredients for Banh Bot Loc Tran

Diving into the heart of Vietnamese cuisine, we’re excited to share the ingredients needed for Banh Bot Loc Tran. This traditional dish combines savory flavors with a delightful translucent dough, promising an authentic taste of central Vietnam.

For the Dough

  • 2 cups of tapioca starch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • A pinch of salt

For the Filling

  • 1/2 pound shelled and deveined shrimp, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 pound pork belly, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 or 2 red Thai chili peppers, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

For the Garnishing

  • Fried shallots
  • Chopped green onions
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Slices of red chili (for extra heat)

With these ingredients at the ready, let’s embark on a culinary journey to bring the taste of Banh Bot Loc Tran into your kitchen. Follow along as we guide you through the steps to create this delectable Vietnamese snack.

Equipment and Tools Required

After gathering our ingredients for the delightful Banh Bot Loc Tran, the next important step is preparing our kitchen with the necessary equipment and tools. This ensures a smooth and enjoyable cooking experience, allowing us to focus on the art of making these savory treats. Here’s what we’ll need:


A quality steamer is central to achieving the perfect texture for Banh Bot Loc Tran. The steaming process cooks the dumplings uniformly, giving them their signature translucent appearance and chewy texture. If you don’t have a traditional steamer, don’t worry! A rice cooker with a steaming basket or even a makeshift steamer setup using a stockpot and a metal colander can work well.

Mixing Bowls

We’ll need a couple of mixing bowls for preparing the dough and mixing the filling. Preferably, use medium-sized bowls that provide enough space to mix ingredients thoroughly without making a mess.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Precision is key in cooking, especially when it comes to traditional recipes like this one. Have a set of measuring cups and spoons ready to accurately measure all ingredients, ensuring the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap plays a crucial role in this recipe. It’s used to cover the dough while resting to prevent it from drying out. Also, we can use it to wrap the dough before rolling it into individual dumplings, helping to keep everything neat and tidy.

Rolling Pin

A rolling pin will help us achieve the desired thickness for the dough. A thin, uniform layer is essential for the proper texture of Banh Bot Loc Tran. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle or a similar cylindrical object can be a great alternative.

Sharp Knife

A sharp knife is indispensable for finely chopping the filling ingredients. It also comes in handy when cutting the dough into evenly sized pieces, ensuring that our Banh Bot Loc Tran cooks uniformly.

Spatula or Spoon

We’ll use a spatula or spoon for mixing the dough and filling. It’s useful to have both on hand for adjusting to the consistency of the mixture as needed.

Measuring Scale (Optional)

For those who prefer precision or are making a larger batch, a kitchen scale can be very helpful. It allows for exact measurements of ingredients, taking the guesswork out of proportions.

Prep Work

Diving into the prep work for Banh Bot Loc Tran is an essential step toward bringing this beloved Vietnamese dish to your table. Let’s ensure all the components—the filling, the tapioca dough, and the dipping sauce—are ready for the adventure.

Preparing the Filling

We’ll start by marinating the shrimp and pork. Combine 200g of shrimp and 100g of thinly sliced pork belly with a tablespoon of fish sauce, a teaspoon of sugar, and a pinch of black pepper in a mixing bowl. Let it marinate for about 20 minutes to infuse the flavors.

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté a thinly sliced small onion or shallot in two tablespoons of vegetable oil until it becomes translucent. Add the marinated shrimp and pork to the skillet. Cook until the shrimp turn pink and the pork is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Once cooked, set aside to cool. This savory mixture will add a burst of flavor to every bite of our Banh Bot Loc Tran.

Preparing the Tapioca Dough

For the dough, we need 400g of tapioca starch. Reserve a quarter of it on the side for later use. Boil 1 and 1/4 cups of water and once it’s boiling, pour it over the tapioca starch in a heatproof bowl. Quickly mix it with a spatula until a dough starts to form. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead it for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and pliable. If the dough feels too sticky, gradually add the reserved tapioca starch until you achieve the right consistency. The aim is to have a translucent, smooth dough that’s not too sticky to work with.

Preparing the Dipping Sauce

The dipping sauce adds an essential layer of flavor to the Banh Bot Loc Tran, so we can’t overlook it. Mix 1/4 cup of fish sauce with 1/4 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, and a minced garlic clove in a bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. To enhance the sauce, add a finely chopped chili to introduce a spicy kick. This savory, sweet, and tangy sauce will perfectly complement the succulent flavors of the Banh Bot Loc Tran.

Assembling Banh Bot Loc Tran

With our shrimp and pork marinated to perfection, tapioca dough prepped for transparency, and a mouth-watering dipping sauce on standby, we’re ready to bring it all together. Assembling Banh Bot Loc Tran is a delicate art that marries flavors and textures into one delightful package.

Shaping the Dough

First, let’s tackle the dough. On a clean, flat surface, roll the tapioca dough into a thin sheet, aiming for a thickness of about 1/8 inch. If the dough sticks, lightly dust your working surface with tapioca starch to prevent any pesky clinging. With a round cutter or a glass, punch out circles from the sheet. These will form the wrappers of our Banh Bot Loc Tran. Ensure they’re uniformly sized to guarantee even cooking. If the dough becomes too tough to work with, cover it with a damp cloth to keep it moist and pliable.

Wrapping the Filling

Onto the exciting part—wrapping. Place a dough circle in the palm of your hand, keeping it flat and open. Spoon a bit of the marinated filling into the center—balance is key, so aim for about a teaspoon of filling to keep it generous yet manageable. Carefully fold the dough over the filling, pinching the edges to seal. We’re aiming for a semi-circular or crescent shape, synonymous with traditional Banh Bot Loc Tran. If any filling peeks through, wrap it with a little more dough. Remember, the beauty of these dumplings lies in their translucent skin, so try not to overstuff them. Repeat this process until all your dough and filling are happily married in their doughy encasements.

Cooking Instructions

With all the prep work behind us, let’s dive into the final steps that will bring your Banh Bot Loc Tran to life. Following these instructions will ensure your dumplings are cooked to perfection, capturing the essence of Vietnamese cuisine in every bite.

Steaming the Dumplings

First, we’ll need to get our steamer ready. Fill your steamer with water and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. While waiting for the water to boil, make sure the dumplings are prepared for steaming. Arrange the Banh Bot Loc dumplings on a layer of banana leaves or parchment paper in the steamer basket, ensuring they do not touch each other to prevent sticking.

Once the water has reached a rolling boil, place the steamer basket over the top. Steam the dumplings for about 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll know they are done when the dough becomes translucent and you can see the vivid colors of the shrimp and pork filling through it. The transformation is not just visual; the texture becomes chewy and pleasantly sticky, a signature characteristic of Banh Bot Loc Tran.

It’s crucial to check the water level in your steamer occasionally, replenishing it with boiling water as needed to prevent it from drying out. This ensures an even and steady steam environment for your dumplings.

Finishing Touches

Once the dumplings are beautifully steamed and have acquired their translucent appearance, carefully remove them from the steamer. Let them cool for a minute or two on a serving plate; this brief waiting period makes them easier to handle.

To elevate the flavor, serve these delightful packets with the prepared dipping sauce. Typically, the sauce is a combination of fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and chili, offering a tangy, sweet, and spicy kick that complements the subtle flavors of the dumplings.

As a final garnish, sprinkle a handful of finely chopped green onions and fried shallots over the Banh Bot Loc Tran. This not only adds a pop of color but also introduces a crispy texture and a burst of aroma that makes the dish even more inviting.

Serving Suggestions

Once you’ve mastered making Banh Bot Loc Tran, the final step is presenting this delightful snack in a way that enhances its appeal and flavor. Let’s dive into the best ways to plate and garnish these Vietnamese gems for an unforgettable serving experience.

Plating the Banh Bot Loc Tran

To truly honor the visual and sensory appeal of Banh Bot Loc Tran, we recommend serving them on a plate or platter that showcases their unique, translucent appearance. Spread them out evenly, allowing each dumpling to be visibly distinct. This not only makes them more appetizing but also allows guests to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into creating each piece. If you’re serving them as part of a larger meal, consider a large, flat dish where they can be the star among other Vietnamese delicacies. The visual contrast of the glistening, jewel-like dumplings against a ceramic or bamboo plate is not only aesthetically pleasing but also invites diners into the enticing world of Vietnamese cuisine.

Adding Garnishes

Garnishing Banh Bot Loc Tran not only adds to their visual appeal but also enhances their flavor. A sprinkle of finely chopped green onions and a handful of crispy fried shallots bring a delightful texture contrast to the chewy, sticky dumplings. For an extra punch of flavor, a few fresh cilantro leaves can add a refreshing note that perfectly complements the savory filling. Don’t forget a side of the tangy, savory dipping sauce – ideally presented in a small, attractive bowl beside the dumplings. This allows eaters to control the sauce-to-dumpling ratio, tailoring each bite to their preference. Offering lime wedges on the side also lets guests adjust the acidity of their dish, making the dining experience interactive and personalized. These thoughtful touches not only elevate the dish but also turn the act of eating Banh Bot Loc Tran into a more engaging and memorable experience.

Make-Ahead Instructions

In our journey crafting the delectable Banh Bot Loc Tran, we’ve uncovered the magic of make-ahead preparation. This traditional Vietnamese delight, best enjoyed fresh, can still embrace the make-ahead approach, ensuring every morsel is as tantalizing as it is convenient. Let’s navigate through the steps that allow us to savor this cultural gem with ease.

Marinating the Filling in Advance

The heart of Banh Bot Loc Tran lies in its flavorful filling of shrimp and pork. To infuse maximum flavor, we recommend marinating the filling ingredients overnight. Combine the shrimp and pork with all the seasonings as outlined in the recipe, cover, and let them mingle in the refrigerator. This not only deepens the flavors but also streamlines the cooking process the next day.

Preparing the Dough Ahead of Time

Tapioca dough, with its distinct chewy texture, is another key component. While freshly prepared dough is ideal, you can make it a day ahead without compromising quality. Once the dough is mixed, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to prevent drying and store it in the refrigerator. Before use, allow the dough to return to room temperature to ensure it’s pliable and easy to work with.

Partial Cooking for Freezer-Friendly Dumplings

If you’re looking to preserve Banh Bot Loc Tran for even longer, consider partially cooking the dumplings. Boil them until they are just set but not fully cooked, about half the time directed. Then, cool them quickly in an ice water bath, drain, and carefully lay them out on a baking sheet to freeze individually. Once solid, transfer the dumplings to a freezer bag or container, ensuring they’re well-sealed to prevent freezer burn. This method keeps them fresh for up to a month.

The Final Touch: Dipping Sauce and Garnishes

Our flavorful dipping sauce and vibrant garnishes are best prepared fresh. However, you can simplify your serving process by mixing the sauce ingredients and chopping the garnishes ahead of time. Store them separately in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, simply reheat the dumplings, and assemble your dish with a drizzle of sauce and a sprinkle of fresh garnishes.

Storing and Reheating

After enjoying the meticulous process of crafting Banh Bot Loc Tran, it often happens that we’re blessed with more dumplings than we can savor in one sitting. Don’t let this bounty go to waste! Properly storing and reheating these morsels can extend your enjoyment across multiple meals. Here’s how we ensure that our Banh Bot Loc Tran retains its delightful texture and taste even days after preparation.

Storing Banh Bot Loc Tran

To keep the dumplings fresh and tasty, start by allowing any leftovers to cool down to room temperature. Once cool, gently place them in an airtight container. If you’re layering the dumplings, we recommend placing a sheet of parchment paper between each layer to prevent them from sticking together. Seal the container and store it in the refrigerator if you plan to enjoy the dumplings within two days.

For longer storage, freezing is the best option. Place the cooled dumplings on a parchment-lined baking sheet, ensuring they’re not touching. Freeze them until solid, about 2 to 3 hours, and then transfer them into a freezer bag or airtight container. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. Properly frozen, Banh Bot Loc Tran can last for up to two months without losing its flavor or texture.

Reheating Banh Bot Loc Tran

When the craving strikes again, reheating Banh Bot Loc Tran is simple and can be done in two ways: steaming and microwaving. Steaming is our preferred method as it best preserves the dumplings’ texture. Simply line a steamer with parchment paper, place the dumplings inside without overcrowding, and steam over medium heat for 10-15 minutes if refrigerated, or 20 minutes if from frozen.

If you’re short on time, microwaving is a quicker alternative. Place the dumplings on a microwave-safe plate, add a splash of water to prevent them from drying out, and cover with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes if refrigerated, or 4-5 minutes if frozen, stopping halfway to check for even heating.


We’ve journeyed through the rich flavors and intricate preparation of Banh Bot Loc Tran, a delightful snack that’s as enjoyable to make as it is to eat. From marinating our fillings to mastering the tapioca dough, we’ve covered every step to ensure you can bring this traditional Vietnamese delicacy to your table. Remember, the beauty of this dish lies not just in its taste but also in its flexibility—make ahead, freeze, and reheat to fit your schedule. So, gather your ingredients, embrace the process, and get ready to impress with these delectable dumplings. Here’s to exploring the wonders of Vietnamese cuisine one bite at a time!

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