Vegetarian tofu bánh mi: recipe

Bánh mi is a South-East Asian sandwich made with a French baguette (an adoption from France’s colonial rule) and filled with spicy barbecued filling – usually meat – and a crunchy pickled raw vegetable salad for contrast. I first ate one in Japan, and since then several bánh mi joints have popped up in London too. Sadly there aren’t often veggie options, so I adapted a recipe for beef bánh mi in Rick Stein’s brill Far Eastern Odyssey book, using tofu and some easier-to-find ingredients. It still tasted pretty good to me, and here’s the recipe (for 2).

Ingredients

200g block deep-fried tofu (I used Dragonfly brand, use regular firm tofu if you can’t find it)
Pack of 2 ready-to-bake white baguettes

Marinade:

2 cloves garlic
half a medium white onion
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 medium-strength chilli

Pickle:

1 large carrot
half a large cucumber
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Small sprigs of mint and coriander, chopped

making Bánh mi

Ingredients from my garden!

Method

Blend all the marinade ingredients except the chilli into a rough paste. Finely chop the chilli and stir that in.

making Bánh mi

Chop the tofu into 2cm chunks, toss with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

making Bánh mi

Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler or coarse grater to slice the carrot and cucumber into ribbons. Stir the in the other pickle ingredients, cover and refrigerate.

making Bánh mi

Sprinkle the baguettes with a little water and pop into the oven. Bake for around ten minutes – they should be a little golden and still soft.

Heat up a griddle pan. Tip on the tofu and griddle, turning often, until crisp all over. Pour on any leftover marinade for the last minute or two.

Squeeze any juice out of the vegetable pickle, and serve everything together as a make-your-own feast. Sriracha hot sauce and sweet chilli sauce are a must to accompany!

making Bánh mimaking Bánh mi

11 thoughts on “Vegetarian tofu bánh mi: recipe

  1. Hi Katie!

    I’ve stumbled by your site tonight (was looking at web design inspiration) and loved this recipe. To be honest I’ve never seen bánh mì with tofu like this, and I’m a Vietnamese (but now living in London). But it looks so delicious I’ll have to try. Do you know Bay Banh Mi in Bloomsbury? they serve this there.

    Anyway, just want to say it’s a lovely website and lovely recipe. Thanks!

    Anh x

    1. Hi Anh! I hope my recipe isn’t too embarrassingly un-authentic..

      I have heard of Banh Mi Bay but haven’t visited, Keu in Old Street is supposed to be good too but I don’t think they have anything veggie :(

  2. Looks lovely – I’ve been meaning to make a veggie Banh Mi for ages. Thanks for reminding me. I think there is a veggie version in Ottolenghi Plenty as well, in case you want to try it! Lara x

  3. NOT at all! I’ve tried this yesterday and it was so delicious I’m going to claim that it’s authentic Vietnamese cuisine from now on! ;-) thanks for posting this.

    I’m working on building a food blog myself, maybe we can swap recipes in the future!

  4. There is Vietnamese bakery down the road from where I live in Melbs and they do a tofu bánh mì. It’s pretty much to die for. So yummy – you would love it!

  5. Made this at the weekend with my 15yr old daughter – we agreed it was one of the most delicious meals we had ever eaten! Many thanks xxxx

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