have you ever had banh mi? it’s a delicious viet sandwich characterized by a crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside french roll, a pile of picked daikon radish and carrot, jalapenos, cucumber, cilantro and a protein – either layers of meats or deliciously browned tofu. they fall in the category of dirt-cheap, mind-blowingly tasty asian street food. don’t pay more than three or four bucks for a banh mi. it ruins the experience.
(if you’re in the dc area, the best place to find a top-notch banh mi is eden center. if you’re in the boston area, i haven’t found a great one yet.)
for christmas, mamacooks gifted me with a banh mi cookbook, so last weekend i took on the challenge to make everything from scratch – the roll, the mayonnaise, the pickles, the roasted tofu. (ok, i didn’t actually make the tofu itself, but i seasoned and cooked it.)
the roll was obviously the biggest challenge, but thanks to intricately detailed instructions, i came out with a product unlike anything i’ve made at home before. it both looked and tasted store-bought and perfect. this was thanks to dough conditioners you add, including vital wheat gluten. more on this ingredient later, because i can’t wait to add it to all my breads.
if you’re not making the bread from scratch, banh mi are super easy to construct.
the pickles are very straightforward – cut carrots and daikon into match sticks and marinate in a 1:2 mixture of sugar and vinegar for a few hours or overnight.
match-stick your cucumber, too, and thinly slice the jalapeno. the cilantro can be in long pieces.
start with schmears of mayo on both sides, salt and pepper, and, if you want to get really fancy and authentic, a small drizzle of maggi seasoning sauce.
then your filling. we used roasted tofu, recipe from the cookbook.
then your veg
close the top and lose yourself in deliciousness.