International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Bánh Mì

Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich)

(Vietnamese baguette sandwich)

Image Creative Commons by kennymatic

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Average: 3.6 (9 votes)

The Vietnamese love their banh mi (bánh mì, pronounced "bun mee"). The foundation of this versatile sandwich is French: baguette, mayonnaise and sometimes paté. But everything else in the Saigon sub is pure Vietnamese. 

Banh mi can be filled with barbecue pork, grilled chicken, tofu or even scrambled eggs in a breakfast version. Your typical banh mi also sports pickled vegetables and a few sprigs flavorful fresh herbs.

Hungry patrons buy these cheap sandwiches from streetside carts and eat them on the go. Sometimes spelled banh my.

4 sandwiches

Ingredients

Vegetable Pickle

  • Vinegar -- 1/4 cup
  • Water -- 3 tablespoons
  • Sugar -- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon
  • Carrot, julienne or grated -- 1
  • Daikon, julienne or grated -- 1/4 pound

Sandwich

  • Small baguettes -- 4
  • Mayonnaise -- 1/4 cup
  • Pork, chicken, tofu or other filling (see variations) -- about 1 pound
  • Cucumber, thinly sliced -- 1/2
  • Cilantro -- 1/2 bunch
  • Serrano or jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional) -- 2 to 3
  • Soy sauce -- to taste

Method

  1. Stir the vinegar, water, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Add the carrot and daikon, mix well and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drain well before using on sandwiches.
  2. Slice the baguettes open lengthwise, leaving one side of the bread as a hinge. Open the bread up and remove a little of the inside to hollow out a space.
  3. Spread the inside of each bagette with mayo. Add layers of meat, marinated carrot and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro sprigs and chile peppers. Sprinkle with soy sauce and serve.

Banh Mi Variations

  • The Vietnamese use a small, individual-sized baguette that is made with a mixture of wheat and rice flours. This combination makes the bread extra light with a crispy crust. You can cut a traditional baguette into smaller sizes for your banh mi. You should get about three sandwiches per baguette.
  • Thit Nuong: Roast pork.
  • Xa Xiu: Barbecue pork.
    • Pork butt, partially frozen, then thinly sliced -- 1 pound
    • Shallots or scallions, minced -- 3
    • Garlic, minced -- 2 cloves
    • Thai or serrano chile peppers, minced -- 1-3
    • Sugar -- 2 teaspoons
    • Fish sauce -- 2 tablespoons
    • Lime, juice only -- 1
    • Salt and pepper -- to taste
    1. In a large bowl, mix together the pork, shallots or scallions, garlic, chile peppers, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
    2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or wok over medium-high flame. Remove the pork from its marinade and sauté quickly until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Ga Nuong: Grilled chicken. Follow the recipe for barbecue pork, substituting boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat.
  • Chay: Vegetarian; use deep-fried tofu.
  • Trung Chien: Use scrambled eggs. Popular for breakfast.
  • Xiu Mai: Pork or beef meatballs with a sweet tomato sauce.
  • Paté: Spread paté on the bread.
  • Bi: Shredded pork skin.
  • Dac Biet: Special combo with grilled pork, salami and pork roll.
  • Add thinly sliced onions. Use other fresh herbs like Thai basil or mint.
  • Mix a little chili sambal in with the mayonnaise for some heat.

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