For the past year, banh mi (the Vietnamese sandwich) have been everywhere. I don’t think there’s been a newspaper or food magazine that hasn’t covered them so far. I had kind of pushed them aside in my mind as ‘just another food fad’, and anyway, all of the recipes I saw had meat in them. Then I saw a couple of recipes for ones with tofu and decided to give it a try.
Now I get it.
These are full-flavoured, chin dripping, fun, dirty street-food. Believe the hype – these are great.
Your basic banh mi recipe is a length of french bread, sliced as for a sandwich, some mayonnaise, a pickle, chilli and a protein source. (As an aside, I have found a vegan mayonnaise by Tiger Tiger in Sainsbury’s and it’s excellent.) I went with carrot pickle and fried tofu in a teriyaki-ish sauce.
Note that the photo is on kitchen paper. This is deliberate. You will probably need to mop up afterwards. I needed to change my t-shirt.
For the pickle:
1/2 carrot, grated
2 tbsp vinegar (cider, wine or rice)
2 tsp sugar
For the tofu:
200g tofu, sliced into long strips
1 tbsp rice wine (or dry sherry)
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
For the sandwich
1 baguette, halved and sliced in two
1 spring onion, sliced
sprigs of fresh coriander
sweet chilli sauce
Put the carrot, vinegar and sugar in a bowl.
Mix well and set aside for about half an hour
Heat some oil in a pan.
Fry the tofu in it until it is browned on both sides.
Add the rice wine, soy and sugar.
Mix gently so that the tofu is coated in the sauce.
Let it bubble down until it is almost dry.
Spread some mayonnaise on one side of the bread.
Layer up the cucumber, tofu, pickled carrots and the rest of the ingredients, topping with a drizzle of chilli sauce.
Serves 2 Make sure you have plenty of napkins or kitchen roll to mop up as you eat.