Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vegetarian Bánh Mí Sandwich

I'll admit it...the description of this sandwich sounds questionable: pickled carrots and radishes, paté, cilantro, and sriracha mayo. It kind of seems like the cook got confused somewhere along the way, but really, the original bánh mí is one of the world's oldest fusion cuisines. The sandwich in question came about after the French colonized Vietnam in the late 1800's. The French brought along baguette and paté, and the Vietnamese added the pickles, hot sauce, and other traditional condiments. The result is one of my favorite foods on the planet. It's rich, crunchy, sweet, sour, hot, and salty -- it has it all!

Pickled Carrots and Daikon (Do Chua):

1 medium daikon radish
2 medium carrots
2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup salt

Shred both the radish and carrot with a julienne peeler and place into a container. Add remaining ingredients, stir to dissolve salt and sugar, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. It's best if left for 24 hours and will keep up to a month.

Mushroom Paté:

10 ounces mushrooms (shiitake or cremini)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 shallot (sliced)
1 tablespoon Braggs or soy sauce
cracked black pepper

In a pan over medium-high heat, allow the oil to come up to temperature. Once the oil starts to shimmer, sauté slices of mushrooms until they begin to brown. Next, add the shallot and the Braggs. Allow this to cook for a few seconds more while constantly moving the mixture around in the pan. Place the contents of the pan into a food processor, add plenty of black pepper, and blend until almost smooth.

Sriracha mayo: Mix 3 parts mayo (or vegan mayo) with one part sriacha. 

Vegetarian Bánh Mí Sandwiches:

6 eggs (or 1 block of tofu or tempeh)
1 long crispy baguette (or 6 small baguette buns)
mushroom paté
sriracha mayo
1 seedless cucumber (thinly sliced)
pickled carrots and daikon
3 green onions (sliced)
handful of cilantro leaves
one lime
sea salt
cracked black pepper

Fry eggs over hard in a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, cover, and set aside. If you're using tofu or tempeh, pan-fry thin slices in a bit of olive oil. Warm bread in a 350 degree oven until the outside becomes crispy. Slice baguette along one side, but leave the other side intact, like a hinge. Spread the top with sriracha mayo and the bottom with mushroom paté. Begin to layer in your ingredients; start with your protein, cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, onions, and cilantro. Right before taking a bite, squeeze lime juice onto the sandwich filling.


  1. I make banh mi fairly frequently and learned some new tricks. I keep the pickled daikon/carrot (I add shallot) in the fridge. No changes- my pickle recipe is the same. I LOVE the shiitake pate. I usually use shiitakes or king oyster mushrooms cooked on the grill pan. The sriracha mayonnaise was wonderful (sriracha anything is wonderful). I have used soy/sesame mayo in the past; I may alternate. I've never put a fried egg on it and probably won't again- I prefer my eggs over easy- it's a texture thing, but marinated tofu. I think the shiitake pate would be a wonderful omlette or crepe filling. I didn't use the entire batch- I'll be using the rest of it this week on everything.

  2. I've never had banh mi before, so I cannot speak to the accuracy, but I loved this sandwich.

    I made it with tofu, and replaced the cilantro with parsley, because cilantro tastes like soap to me. Also, I used the large holes on my box grater for the pickle, I don't have a julienne peeler. It sounded too weird a combination to be so good, but it was most excellent.

    The mushroom pate is going on every sandwich I ever make for at least the next month. It is that delicious.

    One issue with the recipe for me. It made so much pickle. It's a pet peeve of mine when cookbooks have you make something as a component for the recipe and the it makes a ton more than you can use. I don't usually make the same thing more than a couple times a year, i'd rather make a recipe bigger if I like the component than try to shrink it.