Tuesday, June 18, 2013

For the love of Bánh Mì! (Vietnamese sandwiches)

Maivy's Musings- How to make Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches)

Bánh Mì or the Vietnamese sandwich is yummy goodness inside a bun with a perfect combination of fresh baked bread, Vietnamese deli meat, Vietnamese pickles, veggies, pate, and creamy bơ (Vietnamese mayonnaise)...aka heaven in a bite. This is a cheap eat easily bought but if you had time, you should try making this at home because it tastes 1000x better! I recently served bánh mì at my 25th birthday party but I cheated because my mom made the pickles and bơ. This weekend, I finally had the chance to experiment with making these and the result was delicious so I wanted to share it with you today.

If you have ever been to a bánh mì shop, you know that there are many types of bánh mì with different fillings. The one I have here today is my version of the cold cut special combo (bánh mì đặc biệt).

Ingredients for sandwiches:
French baguettes (I like mine on the soft side and I highly recommend you buying these freshly baked)
sliced jalapenos
headcheese (giò thủ)
Vietnamese sausage/pork roll (giò lụa )
pate spread
soy sauce

Ingredients for Vietnamese pickles đồ chua:
1 large daikon
4-5 carrots
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 cup vinegar

Ingredients for Vietnamese mayonnaise: 
3 eggs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Prepare the Vietnamese pickles because this tastes better pickled overnight.

  • Shred the daikon and carrots into thin strips
  • Wash the shreds with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 tablespoon salt. Without rinsing, drain the liquid and place the shreds in a colander and let it sit for about 5 minutes
  • After 5 minutes wash the shreds with water in a vigorous manner by squeezing the portions tightly 
  • Drain and firmly squeeze the shreds to remove all the water and set aside
  • Prepare the brine. Use your judgement for how much brine to make versus how much shredded veggie you have. If it is not enough for the veggies you can double the recipe (which is what I ended up doing).
  • Place 2 cups of warm/hot water in your container or jar. Mix with 1 cup sugar, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 tsp of salt.
  • Place the veggie shreds into your container and set aside in the fridge. Đồ chua tastes better pickled at least overnight but you can enjoy it after a few hours if you wish. 
  • The flavors improve with time and your pickles can last 4-6 weeks in the fridge. 
2. Prepare the Vietnamese mayonnaise. 

(recipe and photos courtesy of my mom at Junniebites)
  • Mix 3 egg yolks with a hand mixer on low. Mix the egg yolks in one direction and slowly drizzle in the oil as you continue to mix.
  • When the egg and oil mixture thickens to the consistent you would like add the onion powder, garlic powder, sugar and salt. Mix well. And there you have it, the best buttery, garlic-y and creamy Vietnamese mayonnaise...my favorite! 
3. Prepare your sandwich components.
  • Slice your cucumbers in to thin strips.
  • Slice your jalapenos.
  • Thinly slice your Vietnamese cold cut meats.
  • Wash your cilantro.
4. Put your sandwich together.

  • Start with slicing your baguette in half length-wise.
  • Spread pate on one side and bơ on the other.
  • Fill the sandwich with your meat fillings.
  • Fill your sandwich with pickled veggies, cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeno.
  • Drizzle a bit of soy sauce on top to taste.
  • If you're feeling fancy, top with a fried egg. Highly recommended, very yummy.