Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vegetarian Bánh Mí Sandwich

I'll admit it...the description of this sandwich sounds horrible: pickled carrots and radish, paté, cilantro, sriracha mayo. It kinda seems like the cook got confused somewhere along the way, but really, the original bánh mí is one of the world's oldest fusion cuisines. The sandwich in question came about after the French colonized Vietnam in the late 1800's. Along with a healthy dose of oppression, the French brought along baguette and paté, so the Vietnamese took that and added the pickles, hot sauce, and other traditional condiments. The result is the exact opposite of horrible; in fact, it is one of my favorite foods on the planet. It's rich, crunchy, sweet, sour, hot, and salty -- it has it all!

Pickled Carrots and Daikon (Do Chua):

1 medium daikon radish
2 medium carrots
2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup salt

Shred both the radish and carrot with a julienne peeler and place into a container. Add remaining ingredients, stir to dissolve salt and sugar, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. They are best if they are left for 24 hours and will keep up to a month.

Mushroom Paté:

10 ounces mushrooms (shiitake or cremini)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 shallot (sliced)
1 tablespoon Braggs or soy sauce
black pepper

In a pan over medium-high heat, allow the oil to come up to temperature. Once the oil starts to shimmer, sauté slices of mushrooms until they begin to brown. Next, add the shallot and the Braggs. Allow this to cook for a few seconds more while constantly moving the mixture around in the pan. Place the contents of the pan into a food processor, add plenty of black pepper, and blend until almost smooth.

Sriracha mayo: Mix 3 parts mayo (or vegan mayo) with one part sriacha. (You may use less sriacha if you are a total sissy.)

Vegetarian Bánh Mí Sandwiches:

6 eggs (or 1 block of tofu or tempeh)
1 long crispy baguette (or 6 small baguette buns)
mushroom paté
sriracha mayo
1 seedless cucumber (thinly sliced)
pickled carrots and daikon
3 green onions (sliced)
handful of cilantro leaves
salt & pepper

Fry eggs over hard in a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, cover, and set aside. If you are using tofu or tempeh, pan-fry thin slices in a bit of olive oil. Warm bread in a 350 degree oven until the outside becomes crispy. Slice baguette along one side but leave the other side intact, like a hinge. Spread the top with sriracha mayo and the bottom with mushroom paté. Begin to layer in your ingredients starting with your protein, cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, onions, and cilantro. Right before taking a bite, squeeze a lime onto the sandwich filling.


Lauren RZ said...

That mushroom pate sounds delicious! Such a great idea. I am absolutely making this for the next party I have.

Phuong Nguyen said...

This has got to be my favorite new blog! As a Vietnamese girl who is infatuated with eating, you had me at banh mi!

Stacy said...

The whole recipe sounds good. I especially can not wait to try the mushroom pate.

Would it be good on other dishes as well?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...


I always have to convince myself to save some paté for the sandwiches. It ain't pretty to look at but it sure tastes good. Mushroom paté, brie, and cornichons would make a fantastic app.

Sara said...

Love this- these are really tasty and the highlight of my lunchtime a couple times a week. Thanks for the mushroom pate idea!

RSA Now said...

Wow when you actually list all the ingredients it DOES sound terrible doesn't it? But it's so yummy!

Swati said...

hey justin, what is sriacha? the recipe sounds great and i'd like to try it.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

It's a thai hot sauce available in most asian grocery stores.

JavaAndRoe said...

Had to psyche myself up to eat mushroom pate' but it's quite good.

RebeccaL said...

Seriously one of the best sandwiches ever invented. I love mine with some spicy tofu!

kdicken said...

Actually, once I read the ingredients I thought it sounded awesome!!! I should try this for lunch someday.

Raw_Girl said...

Wonderful recipe!

Quick question - In what world is eggs considered vegetarian? ;)

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

I eat vegan a lot, but not all of the time. I do eat eggs & cheese. I make this sandwich with tofu as well which makes it vegan.

Unknown said...

Vegetarian comes, as most things, in a spectrum. Lacto vegetarians include dairy, but excludes eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarians include the eggs. Pescetarians includes seafood. There are about another 4 or 5 variations. So hopefully you can see why people just lump them all into vegetarian or vegetarianism. But that's the word.

It's Called Salt said...

Love this idea. We discovered bahn mi years ago in San Francisco at the best Korean shop in the city called Little Paris. A Korean friend took my husband there where bahn mi with pate wasn't even on the menu at the time but he knew how to order it and taught us. These are the fad food of the moment but I still can't get one that approaches the magic of Little Paris. But I love the idea of making a vegetarian version at home and making the sandwich your own. Plus, the versatility of the mushroom pate will be a nice recipe to use in other dishes. Thank you!

It's Called Salt said...

Embarrassing...Korean food on the brain! Little Paris is, of cousre, the best Vietnamese shop in town. And it was a Vietnamese friend who introduced us to banh mi. Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese...I'll eat it all! Please and Thank You!

Cowgirl said...


Charenn29 said...

nice recipe. nice photo too.

Anonymous said...

Looks great, but the amount of liquid for the pickling seems too much. Should my veggies be swimming?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

I think it's correct. Those daikon are hugemongus.

sarah said...

I just made this. Really fantastic recipe! The mushroom pate put it over the top. For my protein component I used 1/4 C Quorn chik'n chunks sauteed in 1 TSP hoisin sauce.

Thai P said...

Mushroom pate ftw! Way to go on this one!!