Week 19: Banh Mi Sandwiches

Week 19: Banh Mi Sandwiches

I, like many others I know, am a creature of habit. I often gravitate to making the same kinds of foods for dinner over and over. That’s part of why I created Try Something Yum – to motivate myself to try new recipes more often and discover new delicious dishes. Even within that sphere, I’ve noticed I tend to pick things that are closer to being familiar to me. This week I decided to try something outside of my comfort zone and went with a Vietnamese sandwich known as banh mi.

I’ve only had banh mi a couple of times back in Halifax. Vietnamese isn’t a cuisine I know much about. Although it was a bit intimidating searching for unfamiliar ingredients not knowing how this would turn out, the risk paid off as we loved the excitingly unique flavours of this delicious sandwich. Recipe for tofu banh mi sliders (that I made into regular sized sandwiches on burger buns) from The Stingy Vegan.

Ingredients: daikon was a little tricky to find but probably because we didn’t know what it looked like and it was labeled under a different name. You’ll also need to grab tofu, liquid smoke, buns, fresh ginger, other veggies, and pantry staples including tomato paste. We had liquid smoke and maple syrup on hand so the rest of the ingredients ended up being quite affordable.

The one thing that I found odd in this recipe is that they want you to open up a can of chickpeas just to use the liquid (chickpeas not required in the recipe). I couldn’t justify opening the can just for the liquid, and I also don’t have an immersion blender, so I just bought regular sriracha mayo at the store (President’s Choice makes one and we liked it). Take this into consideration if you feel similarly and are not vegan. You could also mix plain mayo/vegan mayo with Sriracha.

Marinading the tofu

Timing: unfortunately I can’t provide an accurate time estimate as we spent almost half an hour trying to figure out how to julienne using a mandoline. Recipe quotes 1 hour total.

Yield: we used hamburger buns rather than slider buns and got five full sized sandwiches.

Serving: we enjoyed these on their own for dinner with a nice glass of rose.

How did it go? Other than the aforementioned mandoline challenges (I’m not sure I have the knife skills to slice carrots into julienne), the rest of the recipe went well. The marinade was easy to make right inside the Ziploc bag, the quick pickle was easy to do, and the rest of the veggies just get chopped and added fresh. It was a little messy pulling the tofu out of the marinade baggy and it didn’t exactly get crispy like I had hoped in the pan, but the flavour made up for it. This recipe’s a winner.

Assembly time

The little things we did differently were using store-bought sriracha mayo, using the wrong chilli peppers (we couldn’t find long green chilis so we used Thai green chilis and I found them too spicy), and we left off the fresh cilantro only because I forgot about it.

Taste: Loved the balance of flavour – savoury, spicy, sour, sweet. Actually reminded me of the flavours from the place I used to go for banh mi in Halifax so I’ll chalk that up as a success. I wish the tofu had a crispy exterior, but the flavours were spot on and all there. The pickled veg brings freshness and balanced acidity, the cucumbers, sliced thinly, add a refreshing bite, and the sriracha mayo just pulls it all together. These were such a hit!

Luke’s review: Wow what a first bite! Tastes like chicken, wicked marinade with a nice punch from the pickled veg! Fresh cucumbers, occasional kicks of spice from the chili peppers but hey they were only 4 cents so go nuts! All around great Vietnamese burger.

Luke’s recipe rating: thumbs up

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