Sunday, August 16, 2015

Banh Mi: Vietnamese Sandwiches

Lunch Done Right

This is a post that I intended to get up way back in February. 

I was first introduced to the amazing Banh Mi sandwich when visiting my best friend in Seattle. For five bucks we got the perfect mid afternoon lunch, created by an amazing combination of flavors and textures, picante, salty, cilantro. It was sooooo good! I couldn't believe I had never had one before. 

I got to thinking about how easy they must be to make. Tested my theory and true, super simple. The pickled veggies, called Do Chua, is part of what makes the greatness of the sandwich. So I too was inspired to make my own. Below are the two recipes.

Do Chua: pickled diakon, carrots and cabbage       


Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2-3 carrots peeled and sliced thinly or cut into matchsticks
  • 1-2 diakon, no larger than 2 inches in diameter, peeled and prepared like the carrots
  • 1/2 green or napa cabbage cut into long pieces
  • 1 hot cherry pepper

Step 1: Place the carrot and daikons in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. 
Step 2: Using your hands, knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, to release the water from them. When they are somewhat softened and there is liquid at the bottom of the bowl, stop kneading. The daikon should be soft enough that the ends touch but the daikon does not break when bent in half. The vegetables should have lost about one-fourth of their volume. 
Step 3: Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to expel extra water. 
Step 4.  In a 1 quart ball jar, make the brine by combining 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegar, and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. 
Step 5: Transfer the carrot and daikon, along with cabbage and hot peppers to the jar of brine. The brine should cover the vegetables.Place the top on tightly and gently shake the jar from side to side to assure the veggies have all been coated. 
Step 6:  Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Don't be alarmed if they begin to smell quite pungent. 
Note: You can add a number of veggies to this recipe. Try shallots or salad turnips too. 
 Adapted from

Banh Mi 

  • Soft rolls, such as Portuguese rolls
  • cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced thin, seeds removed
  • cilantro leaves, washed 
  • chopped scallions
  • marinated tofu, pork or beef sliced thinly (marinate using my teriyaki or bourbon marinade found under sauces label)
  • Do Chua (pickled veggies) 

Step 1: Marinate and prepare the meat  or tofu accordingly. 

Step 2: Slice a small wedge out of the top of the roll or cut a slit into the side of the roll, but not all the way through. 

Step 3: Place the tofu/meat in the roll, layer with the pickles, cucumbers, jalapeño, cilantro and finish with the scallions. 

Step 4: Eat and savor that flavor and how you just created an awesome, simple healthy lunch! 

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