The Food Network is currently airing their fourth season of the Great Food Truck Race. Ever since the first season, when the Nom Nom Truck was a contender, I have been dying to make a bánh mì sandwich, one that is just as great as the Nom Nom Truck's. Difficult to tell though, since I can't taste the show's sandwich.
Last week the Food Network aired a rerun of the first season and all those desires came flooding back: I needed to finally make a bánh mì.
In recent years, bánh mì, a Vietnamese baguette sandwich, has taken the U.S. by storm. The sandwich, or some variation there of, has shown up in a multitude of places, including the vegan world.
There is a killer bánh mì sandwich in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen and Robin Robertson has her own spin on this popular sandwich in One-Dish Vegan called
the Bánh Mìzza.:
|Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!|
Both of the above culinary masterpieces are amazing, so grab the books and start cooking. Naturally, these are not recipes I can share with you, but I can share the version I made.
I chose to make a Char Siu Bánh Mì.
First things first: we need to define just exactly what a "bánh mì" is. It is a Vietnamese baguette sandwich with a (meat) filling, pickled vegetables, jalapenos, cucumbers and cilantro.
The pickled vegetables are a local replacement for the French cornichon pickles, which was an expensive ingredient for the local folks. The French influence, also responsible for the bread itself, is because of French colonization of the local region in the 1800's.
Char Siu is Asian barbecue pork. It is sweet, sticky, and bright red. Most Asian countries have adopted this Cantonese staple and have adapted it to suit their own needs and tastes. I am falling in line and adapting it to my tastes and needs. I used pressed tofu as the base. After marinating the tofu in the BBQ sauce, I baked it and then broiled it to achieve that "burnt" or "siu" componenet that this dish is known for.
I pickled daikon and carrots in a simple brine for about three days before making the sandwich. My bánh mì is served with the char siu, daikon pickles, cilantro, jalapenos, sauteed shiitake and onions, and my Cilantro-Sriracha Sauce.
It is a little involved to make this sandwich: pickling the veggies, pressing and baking the tofu and all that slicing and dicing.
The hype alone that surrounds this sandwich is a good enough reason to spend a few hours in the kitchen. Decide for yourself - tasty enough for all that effort? In the end, we thought it was well worth it.
|Char Sui Tofu + Daikon and Carrot Pickles + Cilanto-Sriracha Sauce|