Thursday, February 5, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Banh Mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread.  Bread, or more specifically the baguette was introduced by the French during its colonial period.  The bread most commonly found in Vietnam is a single served baguette, there for the term banh mi is synonymous with this type of bread.

In the Vietnamese language these sandwiches are referred to as a banh mi xiu mai for a baguette with crushed pork meatball, pate and Vietnamese sausage or pork belly.  They encompass all the great characteristics of Vietnamese cuisine which include a complex but balance of flavors, textures and fresh ingredients.  It begins with a slathering of mayonnaise and then stuffed with a variety of prepared meats, sweet pickled carrots, fresh cucumbers, cilantro

In the western hemisphere, especially in areas with substantial Vietnamese expatriate communities, these sandwiches are extremely popular.

We have several shops in the Beaverton area and I especially like anything with tons of mayo and pate.


Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich (chicken)


Pickeled Carrots:

1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup peeled and coarsely shredded carrots (about 2 medium)

Chile Mayonnaise:

1/2 cup Mayonaaise
2 tablespoons chile-garlic paste or sambel oelek 


2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 medium green onions (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
1 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
kosher salt
black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
vegetable oil 

To assemble:

1 French baguette (cut into 4 sandwich size pieces)
1/3 cup fresh pate (at room temperature)
2/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
4 romaine lettuce leaves


For pickled carrots:

Place the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small non-reactive saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt have dissolved.  remove from the heat and add the carrots, and stir to coast them in the mixture.  Let stand at room temperature until the carrots have softeneed, at least 30 minutes (or overnight in refrigerator).  Drain well and keep refrigerated in a covered container until ready to use (can be made 7 days in advance).

For the Chile Mayonnaise:

Combine the mayonnasie and the chile paste in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (can be made 7 days in advance).

For the Chicken:

Place all ingredients except chicken and oil in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add the ground chicken and mix with your hands.

Divide the meat into either small patties (should make 8-10) or into meatballs (should make at least 15).  Transfer the patties or meatballs to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

If you are making patties, feel free to grill them.  If you are making meatballs, those can be baked in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  After cooking, remove and place on a clean plate and let rest in a warm place or loosly tent for 5 minutes.

To assemble:

Spread about 1 tablespoon of the chile mayonnaise on each piece of bread (top and bottom).  Next either slice or spread the pate in a thin layer on the bottom of each roll.  Place 2 of the chicken patties, or 3-4 meatballs on each bottom roll.  Divide the cilantro leaves, carrots and romaine lettuce evenly among the sandwiches and cover with top roll.  Serve immediately.