Ultimate Bap Xao Recipe: How to Make Vietnamese Stir-Fried Corn at Home

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine wandering through the bustling streets of Vietnam, where the aroma of freshly cooked street food beckons at every corner. Among these, Bap Xao stands out—a savory, quick stir-fried corn that’s a beloved snack across the country. This dish combines the sweetness of corn with the umami of shrimp and the richness of butter, creating a delightful flavor harmony that’s hard to resist.


Dive into the flavors of Vietnam with this simple yet delicious Bap Xao recipe. Gather the following ingredients to start your culinary adventure.

Main Ingredients

  • 2 cups of fresh corn kernels, preferably sweet corn for a richer taste
  • 100 grams of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup of diced scallions (green onions)
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of dried shrimp, soaked in water for 10 minutes and then drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • Fresh lime wedges, for serving
  • A handful of fried shallots, for garnish
  • A few sprigs of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish

Required Equipment

To master the art of making Bap Xao, ensuring you have the right tools at hand is key. Here’s a list of essential equipment you will need to bring this Vietnamese street food classic to life in your kitchen:

  • Large non-stick skillet or wok: Essential for achieving that perfect stir-fry. The wok’s high sides and curved shape allow ingredients to cook evenly and quickly.
  • Wooden spoon or spatula: Use this to stir your ingredients vigorously, ensuring they are well-coated with seasonings and do not stick to the pan.
  • Measuring spoons and cups: Precision is crucial when it comes to balancing flavors, especially with ingredients such as fish sauce and sugar.
  • Knife and cutting board: For prepping ingredients such as garlic, scallions, and shrimp. A sharp knife will make your preparation work much easier and safer.
  • Lime squeezer (optional): If you prefer freshly squeezed lime juice to heighten the zesty flavor of your dish.
  • Serving dishes: To present your Bap Xao beautifully, have serving plates or bowls ready. This dish is best enjoyed hot and fresh out of the skillet.

With these tools ready, you are set to cook Bap Xao with ease and confidence, replicating the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese cuisine right in your kitchen.

Preparation Steps

Now that you have all your equipment ready, let’s dive into the cooking process. Follow these detailed steps to ensure your Bap Xao turns out perfectly flavorful and authentically Vietnamese.

Cleaning and Chopping

  1. Clean the Corn: Begin by husking the ears of corn, making sure to remove all the silk. Wash the corn under cold running water to get rid of any dirt or debris.
  2. Chop the Corn: Place the corn flat on your cutting board. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the kernels off the cob. Aim to keep the kernels as whole as possible to maximize their juicy crunch.
  3. Prepare the Scallions and Shrimp: Rinse the scallions and chop them finely, both the green and the white parts. For the shrimp, if they are not already cleaned, peel and devein them. Then, chop the shrimp into small pieces, about the size of the corn kernels, to ensure even cooking.
  1. Mix the Marinade: In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and a pinch of pepper. Stir these ingredients until the sugar dissolves completely.
  2. Marinate the Shrimp: Place the chopped shrimp in a separate bowl and pour the marinade over them. Mix well until all the shrimp pieces are evenly coated. Let the shrimp marinate for about 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. This marinating step infuses the shrimp with rich flavors that are quintessential in Bap Xao.

Cooking Process

Now that your ingredients are prepped, let’s get cooking! Follow these steps closely to bring the vibrant flavors of Bap Xao to life in your kitchen.

Stir-Frying the Corn

Heat about two tablespoons of vegetable oil in your non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped scallions and sauté them until they’re fragrant and slightly softened—this should take about 1-2 minutes. Add the fresh corn kernels to the skillet and stir well to combine with the scallions.

Keep stirring the corn frequently for about 5-8 minutes until the kernels turn bright yellow and are just beginning to brown on the edges. The sound of sizzling corn mixed with the aroma of cooked scallions will make your kitchen smell delightful.

Adding Toppings

After the corn has cooked, push it to the side of the skillet or make space in the center. Add the marinated shrimp to the hot skillet. Let the shrimp cook without stirring for about 2 minutes, then stir everything together—corn, shrimp, and remaining marinade—ensuring the shrimp is cooked through and pink, which should take another 3-4 minutes.

Sprinkle a generous amount of chopped spring onions and a handful of fried shallots over the top for an extra layer of crunch and flavor. For a final touch, drizzle a bit of butter and a squeeze of lime juice over the entire dish. Give everything a good mix to distribute the flavors evenly.

Assembling the Dish

After having stir-fried the corn with scallions and added the marinated shrimp, it’s now time to bring all the vibrant components together to finalize your Bap Xao. This step is crucial as it infuses all the flavors, ensuring every bite is bursting with taste.

Add the Butter and Seasonings

Begin by reducing the heat to low and add a tablespoon of butter to the pan. Stir gently until the butter melts completely and coats the corn and shrimp mixture. This not only adds a rich, creamy texture but also enhances the overall flavor of the dish.

Incorporate the Herbs

Next, sprinkle half of the chopped spring onions into the pan. Stir everything together for about one minute, allowing the onions to release their aroma and flavor into the dish. This step introduces a fresh, herby taste that complements the sweetness of the corn and the savory taste of the shrimp.

Final Touches

For the final touch, add a generous sprinkle of fried shallots and squeeze fresh lime juice over the top. The crispy shallots provide a delightful crunch, contrasting beautifully with the tender textures of the cooked ingredients, while the lime juice adds a zesty freshness that elevates the overall flavor profile.


Transfer the Bap Xao to a serving dish or plate it individually. Garnish with the remaining spring onions and an extra pinch of fried shallots for an inviting presentation. Serve immediately while it’s still hot to enjoy the full range of flavors and textures this dish has to offer.

Serving Suggestions

Once your Bap Xao is hot and ready, you have several delightful ways to serve it that can enhance its flavors and make your meal even more enjoyable. Plating Bap Xao can be both fun and artistic, ensuring every bite is as exciting as it is delicious.

Pair With Proteins

For a more fulfilling meal, pair your Bap Xao with grilled meats or seafood. The smoky flavor of grilled chicken or pork complements the sweet and savory notes of the corn. Alternatively, a side of seared shrimp or fish can elevate this dish, turning it from a snack into a hearty meal.

Add Some Crunch

To add an extra texture to your Bap Xao, consider serving it with a side of crispy rice paper rolls or fresh spring rolls. The crunchiness of these sides contrasts wonderfully with the creamy texture of the buttered corn and the tenderness of the shrimp.

Go Fresh

Incorporate a fresh element by adding a salad or fresh herbs to your dish. A simple Vietnamese-style salad with cucumbers, carrots, and a sprinkle of peanuts, dressed with fish sauce and lime juice, can be a refreshing accompaniment. Additionally, topping your Bap Xao with extra fresh herbs like cilantro or mint right before serving can add a burst of freshness that enhances the overall flavor profile.

Beverage Pairings

When considering what to drink with Bap Xao, a light beer or a glass of crisp white wine complements the richness of the dish beautifully. For a non-alcoholic option, a refreshing limeade or coconut water can balance the spice and richness of the Bap Xao, making your meal thoroughly refreshing.

Make-Ahead Tips

When you’re planning to wow your guests with Bap Xao, a bit of preparation can go a long way. Here are some effective tips to simplify the cooking process, ensuring you spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the meal with friends and family.

Prepare Shrimp and Marinade Early

Marinate the shrimp a day ahead. Simply mix the shrimp with the marinade ingredients as specified in the recipe, cover, and refrigerate. This not only saves you time but also enhances the flavor of the shrimp, making them more succulent and tasty when stir-fried.

Pre-Chop Vegetables

Chop all your vegetables such as scallions and herbs the night before. Store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator to maintain their freshness. Having your vegetables prepped and ready to go speeds up your cooking time significantly.

Fry Shallots in Advance

Fry the shallots ahead of time until they are crispy and golden. Let them cool, then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Prepared shallots can be kept for several days and can be a great time-saver, as well as adding a delightful crunch and flavor to the dish.

Pre-Cook Corn Kernels

If you’re using fresh corn, boil the kernels a day in advance until just tender, then refrigerate them. This reduces your actual cooking time and ensures that each kernel will burst with sweetness and texture after a quick stir-fry.

Implementing these make-ahead tips for your Bap Xao not only simplifies the cooking process but also ensures that each element of the dish is infused with flavor, ready to come together quickly and deliciously at mealtime.


Ready to delight your taste buds with a dish that’s as fun to make as it is to eat? Bap Xao offers a unique blend of flavors and textures that will transport you straight to the streets of Vietnam. By following the steps outlined, you’ll whip up this tasty snack in no time. Remember the make-ahead tips to streamline your cooking experience. So why wait? Gather your ingredients and treat yourself and your guests to this delightful Vietnamese stir-fried corn. Enjoy the burst of flavors in every bite!

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