November 27, 2010

bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwich)

The bread slices may be hollowed out for more beef and vegetable filling
I've been curious about this light Vietnamese sandwich after watching a few food shows dedicated to it. This was my version of bahn mi. I made a few adjustments to the traditional recipe as I was relying on available ingredients when I made it for the first time. It required some make ahead pickled julienned carrots and daikon radish. I knew I wouldn't be able to find daikon at the grocery store where I shop so I used carrots and substituted cucumber for the daikon. The pickling solution was a simple mixture of vinegar (rice vinegar or apple cider), sugar, salt and pepper. Add the julienned carrots to the mixture and refrigerate until ready to use.

Store bought French bread may be used but I found a recipe for bahn mi bread from Andrea Nguyen at her Viet World Kitchen website. I followed the exact recipe and the bread (pictured above) came out chewy, crusty and perfect for the bahn mi. Traditional bahn mi makes use of pork, however, what I had were thinly sliced beef that I marinated in soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and lemon juice. I pan fried the beef until fully cooked and tender. We assembled our own sandwiches by spreading mayo or butter (optional) on the bread before filling with the thin beef slices and finally topping them with the pickled vegetables.

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