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Bánh Mì with Chilli Tofu – Vietnamese food at its best!

Bánh mì is nothing but a crisp baguette filled with pickled veg, lots of fresh coriander, maybe peanuts and of course some meat or tofu (for us vegetarians). These sandwiches tend to have a balance of flavours – are crisp, salty, tangy, and sweet.

I happened to taste it in one of the street food events I attended and since have been very keen to replicate it at home.

My friend who originates from Vietnam advises me that back home, they use a Saigon baguette, which is typically made with a mixture of rice and wheat flour and hence is quite crisp. The idea being that chewy, doughy baguettes won’t work well.

So, to make this at home, get a nice, crisp french baguette (not Italian, as Italian will be more chewy).

Bánh mì  is a Vietnamese spin on the French classic baguette. You can use what you fancy inside your baguette but remember the basic components of a classic Bánh mì are :

–  lots of pickled veg like carrots, radish, cucumber, chilli (maybe)

– nice crispy (not doughy) french baguette of a classic

– nicely marinated tofu, some meat, sweet potato or perhaps even mushrooms

INGREDIENTS & INSTRUCTIONS (to make 2 of these yummy creations)

To make the pickled veg : 
Take:  2 cups  julienned radish/ cucumber/ carrots, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1 cup water
Now:  In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, vinegar, and water (Some people prefer to bring it to a single boil and then chip later). Add veg and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Drain completely before using. Make it as tangy or as sweet as per your taste.

To marinate Tofu: 
Take:  Tofu (about 100 gms), 1 tbsp soya sauce, 1 tbsp chilli oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 clove garlic crushed, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes.

Now: Cut tofu into 1/4-inch thick slices and press between clean kitchen towels to remove all moisture. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, ensuring the tofu doesn’t break. Refrigerate at least for an hour to allow the tofu to absorb flavours. Cook on medium heat until nice and crisp.

To make the base spread:
Take: 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander, 1 tsp soy sauce

Now: Mix it all together

Now, assemble your Bánh mì :
Slice baguettes lengthwise, leaving one side as a hinge. Spread mayonnaise on top and bottom halves. Add the tofu, the pickled veg as well as lots of peanuts…

Transported to Ms. Saigon’s land yet? I certainly did.  Thank you Grace, for the inspiration, I will be making this again and again…

Shilpa xx