Ridiculously easy, insanely delicious, Banh Mi sandwiches with pickled veg and a side of roasted squash. The Banh in Banh Mi means 'bread' so it is a very important element in the dish. The main ingredients that remain consistent are the pickled veggies and cilantro. You can make this dish in a variety of ways; pork, chicken, beef, tofu, lentils, mushrooms, shrimp, etc.
I often laugh when I create these dishes and think of a way I can market them to my family. I wonder if there is a way to change the wording to make my meat-loving, extended family slightly contemplate trying a meal I make.
My mom often phones me after I post a recipe and tells me about aunts or uncles who have called her and asked if my children are ok (like plant-based cooking qualifies as abuse or something). Most of my family is born and raised Calgarians and are unwavering carnivores. My dad is actually afraid to come to my house for dinner because he thinks I put lentils and eggplant in everything (which I absolutely do haha). My mom actually brings a whole separate meal for him because he refuses to eat the food I make (without even trying it!) He is 100% an adult picky eater. But I guess vegans and vegetarians can be viewed as picky eaters as well haha.
In order to be as inclusive as possible when creating these recipes, I will do my best to give options for all types of eaters (carnivore, plant-based, and everything in between).
Also, I'm kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type cook so don't take my measurements as 100% truth. Add a little of whatever you need, here and there to make it work for you.
I created a starter a few weeks ago and I am loving baking fresh bread when we need it. It is way easier than I imagined it would be. The starter gives it a lot more flavour.
*If you think this is nuts, skip this step and go buy some fresh, just as yummy banh mi buns (T&T Market has a great selection).*
1/3 cup starter (simply skip if you don't have one)
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour (00 flour makes for a chewier, yummier bread)
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tbsp yeast
Dissolve the starter, sugar, yeast, oil, and salt in the water, let sit for 5 mins. Mix in flour and cover the bowl with a tea towel and place in a dark cool place for min 1 hour (the longer the better). Once the dough has risen, pull it out of the bowl and split it into 4 equal pieces. Roll the 4 pieces into sub bun shapes (pictured below) and place in a greased ceramic pan. Cover and let rise again for another hour or so. Bake at 400ºF for 25-30 mins.
Pickled Veg - you can choose which veggies you want to pickle for your sandwich
1/2 English cucumber
4-5 red radishes
1/2 daikon radish
1 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
Mix the vinegar, sugar, and fish sauce together (mason jar works great) until the sugar has dissolved. Cut the veggies into match sticks and add to jar. Shake up and place in the fridge for 45 mins (take out from time to time and shake it up).
I used carrots and cucumbers in the one below.
Mushroom, Cauliflower Lemongrass filling
2 cups of assorted mushrooms (I love oyster and shiitakes in this one).
2 cups of chopped cauliflower
1 small shallot
1/3 cup of hoisin sauce
3 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp of fresh ginger (grated)
2 stalks of fresh lemongrass
2 tbsp olive oil
Chop the mushrooms and cauliflower into small pieces and place on a baking sheet. Finely chop the shallot and grate the ginger into a small bowl, add the hoisin, olive oil, and soya to the bowl and mix together. Pour the wet mixture over the mushrooms and cauliflower and toss and mix together until everything is coated. Chop the lemongrass stalks into about 5-6 large pieces (easier to remove before eating) and mix into the mushroom mixture on the pan. Bake at 400ºF for 25-30 mins.
You can do everything the same but swap out the mushroom mixture for pork, chicken, beef, or tofu.
Spicy Mayo (Optional)
2 tbsp mayo (regular or plant-based)
1 - 2 tbsp Sriracha or sweet chili sauce (depends on how spicy you want it)
Mix together in a small bowl and place in the fridge for 10 mins to set.
Putting it all together:
Cut the bun open and put spicy mayo on one side of the bun and pour some ponzu sauce on the other side (it's a great way to add a little extra flavour). Add cilantro (obviously skip if you are one of those crazy people who hate cilantro haha) to the mayo side. I like to add a little extra veg like spinach, kale, or Brussel greens and then pile on the pickled veg. Be sure to pick out the lemongrass from the mushroom mixture and then put it on top of the pickled veg. close it up and enjoy! Served with a side of roasted squash and sweet potatoes.
My kids prefer to have their veggies on the outside of their sandwich and I just use regular plant-based mayo and put a dab of hot sauce on the side if they want to try it.