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Monday, May 27, 2013

Dinner, By Way of Saigon

Vietnamese Banh Mi
Adapted from The Sandwich King
Pickled Vegetables:
1 Cup distilled white vinegar
2 TBS sugar
1 TBS kosher salt
1 Cup julienned daikon radish
1 Cup julienned carrots
1/2 Cucumber, cut into half moons
Spicy Mayo:
1 Cup mayo
1-2 TBS Sriracha
1/2 TSP sesame oil
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 Onion, diced
4 Cloves garlic
1 TBS grated ginger
1/4 Cup hoisin
1/4 Cup fish sauce
1/3 Cup chicken stock
1/4 Cup pickling liquid from veggies
1 LB ground turkey (or pork, chicken, diced tofu)
Black pepper
To Serve:
8-In French baguettes
Thinly sliced jalapeño
Cilantro leaves
Crushed peanuts
 Makes about 4 sandwiches

The banh mi may just be the perfect sandwich - warm crusty bread, salty-sweet meat filling, crisp veggies, and a spicy kick to finish it off.  I have never had an authentic banh mi before, but according to Rich, I came pretty close.  The different textures, temperatures, and flavors in each and every bite are highly addictive.  I think I may need to do some extensive research on this so I can perfect this dish. 

So what is the banh mi exactly?  The traditional sandwich was born out of the French colonial period, combining traditional French ingredients like baguettes, mayonnaise, and pate with native Vietnamese ingredients like cilantro, chili peppers, and pickled carrots.  Typical fillings include pork belly, grilled meat, pate, fried eggs, and tofu accompanied by fresh cucumber cilantro, pickled shredded carrot and daikon.  Condiments include mayonnaise, spicy chili sauce and cheese.  It's a sandwich with endless possibilities.

There are a lot of components but pretty much everything in this recipe can be made ahead of time, plus the pickled veggies get even better the next day.  I used ground turkey in place of pork since it was what I had, but feel free to get creative here.  Make extra pickled vegetables while you're at it and put them on everything.  

In a saucepan heat sugar and salt in the vinegar until dissolved.  Pour over prepared vegetables and let sit for at least an hour.

Mix mayo, sriracha, and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Heat oil in sauté pan.  Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add the garlic and ginger and sauté one minute more.  Add the pickling liquid and let reduce by half.  Stir in the hoisin, fish sauce, stock, and black pepper.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until thickened.  Add your protein (breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon if needed) and cook through.

Now, for the assembly.  Spread the mayo onto each baguette.  Fill with turkey and top with pickled vegetables.  Add jalapeno, cilantro, and peanuts as desired.


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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.