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).
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
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
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
Ingredients from my garden!
Blend all the marinade ingredients except the chilli into a rough paste. Finely chop the chilli and stir that in.
Chop the tofu into 2cm chunks, toss with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
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.
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!