Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Banh- Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches)

So I have a confession to make.  Its beyond too hot to cook today, the same thing happened yesterday.  But today I wanted to make something refreshing and ethnic.  Something very non- American.  Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce the Banh- Mi.  Its gloriously simple, packed full of flavor, and has very little cooking involved.

But first let me just say that this sandwich is customarily not vegetarian although it is really delicious anyway.  I choose to top it with cucumber although other vegetables such as carrots and pretty much anything yummy and crunchy is suitable. Another common topping is mayonnaise, which is great but I couldn't resist putting my own twist on that as well.

Garlic- Avocado Mayo
1 ripe avacado
3-4 T. Vegan Mayonnaise
2-4 Cloves of garlic, minced
Juice of one lime
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl roughly mash the avocado.

2. Add all the other ingredients and combine well.

Keeps well in the fridge in a sealed container.  To keep it from browning add the avocado pit to the container.  Also makes an excellent spread for breads.

Banh- Mi Tofu

1 pkg of firm tofu, cut in 8 slices
1/4 C. Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 T. Soy sauce
2 t. Salt
2 t. Pepper
1 T. Sesame oil
1t. Dijon mustard
Juice of one lemon (about 2T.)

1. Place all ingredients except tofu into a large zip-lock baggy or seal-able container. Combine well.

2. Add tofu to marinade and allow to sit for a few hours or preferably overnight.  Shake up the container every once in a while to make sure all the tofu is being soaked by the marinade.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Put tofu on a cookie sheet.  Brush the top of the tofu with the marinade and bake for 5-10 minutes.  Flip tofu, brush other side with marinade and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until each side is slightly browned.

Finished Sandwiches!
I used burger buns for my sandwich but you could use some kind of rustic more traditional sandwich bread if you prefer.  I spread a generous amount of the mayo on the top piece of bread. Also I chose to keep it simple and just use sliced cucumbers as my topping since the mayo and tofu had so much flavor to it. Feel free to try other veggies like shredded carrots, sprouts, daikon, or any fresh herbs.  As an added bonus I toasted my bread so it wouldn't get soggy and it added a nice crunch and mouth feel to the overall sandwich.

This sandwich is pretty quick and super easy.  Don't fret if you don't have one of the ingredients for the marinade, just substitute something close. If you don't like mayo you can use hummus, or a bean dip instead.  It may be less traditional but it's still super tasty!

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