There is no sandwich I enjoy eating more on a sunny day than a crispy, spicy Bahn Mi with gobs of sweet hoison sauce. These sandwiches can often be found in the Asian districts of you city or in Oriental groceries. They are often ridiculously cheap and ridiculously delicious. In this recipe I’ll be making the vegetarian version, but you can also use sliced pork, bbq chicken or bbq beef for the protein. (I haven’t tried it with fish but I imagine it’d be great with a tempura battered white fish filet.) They each lend their own character to the final harmony of flavors.
All you need to make 2 of them them are:
2 mini baguettes (fresh little french rolls, not the ones that come w/preservatives in plastic bags plz)
1/4 a block of tofu
mayonaise (or veganaise for us anti-dairy snobs)
rice wine vinegar
a little sugar
The first thing you want to prepare is the “pickled” vegetable relish. This is my own version because I couldn’t find the pickled mix in the grocery. All I do is grate carrot and cucumber on the largest size and pour a bit of rice vinegar over the mix. Add a bit of sugar and double the liquid with water. Stir and set aside while you’re preparing the rest of the sandwich.
Fry up the tofu in 1/4″ think strips, easy to lay lengthwise in the bun. While you’re frying your tofu, pop your french roll into the oven at 300 degrees to toast it up! I use olive oil to fry almost everything, but you can use whatever oil you want. Just let it crisp up until it’s a nice golden brown on each side, with a sprinkle of salt before and after the flip. When it has browned, set it on a paper towel to absorb excess grease. Wave to it and assure it that you will see it soon.
Cut the ends off the cilantro but don’t chop it up. Leave the stems on because they add a lot to the crunch and flavor. Make the stems into about 2-3″ pieces each. Slice about 1/8 of the onion very thinly and set aside. Grate a small carrot on the largest size, set aside. Cut 1/4-1/2 the cucumber into very thin strips, set aside. Slice the jalapeno according to how spicy you like your sandwich. I like it spicy so I make the slices a bit fatter than if you wanted a milder kick. Set aside. Prepare your mouth for deliciousness.
Drain the liquid from your marinating slaw and mix it with a fork. Grab your bun out of the oven and slice it with a serrated knife on one side. Pull it open just enough to make a mouth-like pocket. The layering of ingredients is really up to you. I don’t like my bread to get too soggy so I tend to place the dry ingredients first and my sauces in the middle of them so it doesn’t make much contact with the bread. If you don’t mind moist bread you can slather it with mayo, layer the tofu, hoison sauce, slaw, veggies, jalapeno and then pack as much cilantro on top as you possibly can (if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you should already know how I feel about cilantro. Answer: passionate & greedy.)
IF YOU HAVE FOLLOWED INSTRUCTIONS CORRECTLY YOUR MASTER BAHN MI CREATION SHOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS AND TASTE LIKE A SAVORY SWEET & SPICY MIRACLE IN YOUR MOUTH!