If it weren’t for the surge of Banh Mi sandwich shops currently dotting the culinary landscape, the average Philadelphian might even considered it to be a new fusion invention of a Hoagie, a Vietnamese Hoagie.
In its history though, the Banh Mi is a sort of fusion, one brought about combining those brightly colored, fresh elements of flavor found in Vietnamese cuisine then merged between the love of crusty bread and pate style meats, tastes favored among the French during their time of colonization. Together these make the Banh Mi, the continued popular sandwich widely prepared in Vietnamese cuisine.
While the pate style meats within the sandwich are classic there are many versions of the Banh Mi, those just vegetable, or with chicken, pork, beef, or seafood.
With many seasoning combinations too, this filled outer crisped roll offers lots of flexibility including this easy and flavorful spin added between some pickled and fresh vegetables topped with scented green leaves of cilantro, and it’s a great way to use up any remaining grilled meat, Banh Mi, with leftover grilled steak.
- 1 crusty roll
- 3-5 slices thinly sliced leftover grilled steak
- 1 carrot, peeled, julienne cut, pickled, (recipe below)
- 1 small daikon radish, peeled, julienne cut, pickled, recipe below
- 6 slices thinly sliced Kirby cucumber
- 1 hot red cherry pepper, thinly sliced, jalapeno may alternatively be used
- 1/2 dozen sprig leaves of fresh cilantro, more or less
- For flavorings:
- Maggi seasoning sauce in a bottle, optional
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixed with a squirt of sriracha hot sauce, optional
- For Pickling:
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- Banh Mi Assembly: Cut roll about three quarter way to the bottom being sure to keep the roll attached, bake bread until hot and just crisped a bit. If using a seasoning, spread sriracha mayonnaise or Magi seasoning on the inside top. Line the bread with 3-5 thin slices of steak topping with pieces of pickled carrot and radish, cucumber slices, hot peppers, topping with the fresh cilantro leaves. Serve hot straight away.
- Pickling for Carrots and Daikon Radish: Combine the carrots and Daikon radish into a bowl add in the sea salt and 2 tablespoons sugar, toss vegetables together coating well for around three minutes. Wash bowl after transferring vegetables to a colander, set aside, then rinse vegetables with cool water shaking out any excess liquid. Into the cleaned bowl mix together the remaining sugar, vinegar, and warm water stirring well until sugar dissolves. Pour brine into a jar adding in the julienne carrots and Daikon radish. Let marinate at least an hour. Pickled vegetables will last in refrigerator up to a month.
Banh mi Handbook by Andrea Nguyen