Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bánh Mì

Bánh Mì is a Vietnamese sandwich and it is a product of French colonialism. The sandwich filling ingredients are v. Vietnamese-y (I apologize for always making up words) but it's all set on delicious and crusty French bread. I love sandwiches, I love Asian flavors (since I grew up on them), and I especially love French bread, so bánh mì is a perfect fusion combination for me.

The first time I had bánh mì was in college. A little shop opened up right in front of our apartment senior year and my best friend/roommate and I went one day. It was quite good, albeit overpriced for a college student's wallet and I think that's probably why it closed down quickly after it opened. I've had bánh mì here and there since then but nothing mind blowing (or stomach blowing? No, that sounds gross) until I went to houston and had really amazing bánh mì that was less than $3. I knew as soon as I took my first bite that I had to try and recreate it at home.
Ingredients:
marinade [enough for about 2 lbs. of protein]
¼ cup soy sauce (preferably low-sodium)
¼ cup water
¼ cup Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc cham)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
+ 1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
2 lbs. of preferred protein - pork tenderloin, chicken thighs, beef, shrimp, turkey, tofu

sandwich
1 loaf french bread
1 lb. meat marinaded in banh mi marinade
pickled carrot & daikon
2 baby cucumbers, cut into spears
fresh cilantro
2 jalapeños, cut into spears

To make the marinade, just combine all of the ingredients together and stir.
Pour the marinade over the protein of your choosing - I used 1 lb. of pork tenderloin (sliced against the grain) and 1 lb. of shrimp. Let the meat (or tofu) marinade for 4 to 8 hours. If you're going to let it marinade for longer I would recommend halving the amount of soy sauce and fish sauce, as both are v. salty ingredients.
Now, onto the sandwiches!

Slice the bread into personal sized pieces and then slice in half lengthwise without cutting completely through.
Steam the bread to warm it up.
Cut up the cucumber and the jalapeño.
Cook the meat on a hot pan or grill.
To assemble the sandwich, pile on some meat, add a cucumber spear, lots of cilantro, a pile of carrot & daikon pickles, and a piece of jalapeño. The sandwiches I had in Houston also had a smear of paté on the bread as well, but I skipped that, as I hadn't prepared neither the time nor the ingredients to make my own. Eventually, I'll get around to sharing a paté recipe though. I promise.
Yum!! Serve with extra pickled carrot & daikon and maybe some Sriracha.
Here are the recipe pages:

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