Monday, August 3, 2015

Recipe - Tofu Báhn Mì

My first memory of a Báhn Mì comes from about 5 years ago, and it is one of amazement.  A friend in Atlanta and I were going to a concert and she brought along some Vietnamese sandwiches from a shop near her house.  

I was seriously amazed.  How did I not know this existed?  It’s like the original fusion food, from long before the invention of Korean burritos and Mexican pizzas.
It was another few years before the thought occurred to me to make my own and I have to say that too often I forget about what a wonderful meal Báhn Mì sandwiches make.  Recently I remembered them and made them for dinner and we all enjoyed just how fresh and bursting with flavour they are!
You can make these with meat, tofu, tempeh, eggs, or even just a ton of delicious veggies.  As one blog has pointed out, a good Báhn Mì is the sum of its parts, thus the important thing is to have a nice array of super fresh fillings. 

Summer is the best time for these sandwiches because veggies are at their most abundant and tastiest.  Fresh cilantro, mint, lettuce and other greens, thinly sliced carrots, radishes, and cucumbers, peppers, grilled zucchini and other veggies, there is no limit to what you can put on these guys!  For garnish a bit of mayonnaise and sriracha sauce (Vietnamese sweet hot sauce) is enough, but you can certainly add more.

The marinade for the meat or protein can be a simple mixture of soy sauce, garlic, oil, and lemon balm (if you have it growing rampantly in your yard like we do!).  

This recipe is loosely modeled on The Kitchn’s recipe for Báhn Mì with Lemongrass Tofu, but we added a half pound of bacon for some extra fun and crispiness.  Almost all the ingredients can be sourced through Bailey’s, including the tofu!  Substitute a locally made hot sauce or salsa for the sriracha to keep things really local.  

Tofu Báhn Mì Sandwich
Serves 4-6

Tofu and Marinade:
1 package firm tofu, sliced into 6-8 long slabs
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon local oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
2 handfuls lemon balm, minced (or lemongrass)
1 clove garlic, minced

Veggies (this is flexible so use what you have):
1-2 carrots, julienned (sliced in matchsticks)
1-2 cucumbers, julienned
1 daikon radish, julienned
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Jalapeño peppers, sliced
French bread or ciabatta bread
Sriracha sauce

Optional (but definitely voids the vegetarian/vegan aspect!):

To make the marinated tofu, mix together the soy sauce, oil, lemon balm, and garlic, add the tofu and marinate in the fridge for an hour or more.  
Mix together the julienned veggies, add a few splashes of rice wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Remove long or tough stems from the cilantro and mint.

Fry the marinated tofu in a bit of oil over medium-high heat until it is golden brown on both sides.
Serve by putting all the fillings on the table, slicing open the bread, and let everyone make their own sandwich.

No comments: