The other day I was Stumbling and came across a blog where someone casually mentioned a food known as Banh Mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches. I couldn't believe they had posted about something so monumental in such a nonchalant manner. I love Vietnamese food! And more than that, I LOVE SANDWICHES. This is serious! This is important. With the help of a friend and a kick ass boyfriend who plans fun, random trips to the Denver Aquarium just coz, within a week of my discovery I had tried my first Vietnamese sandwich. And it was incredible! The only problem is that I can't drive up to Denver every time I want a fucking sandwich. Enter the DIY Vegan Banh Mi.
1 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro
3-4 Carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
1 Whole Cucumber, thinly sliced and quartered
1/2 Cup White Onion, thinly sliced or chopped
1 Jalapeno, thinly sliced and quartered
1 Cup White Vinegar
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Package Firm Tofu
Toasted Sesame Seeds
3-5 Demi Baguettes (You can make them (asshole) but I just bought mine. I highly suggest you go to an actual bakery and skip the grocery store's bullshit.)
First, before you do anything, mix the sugar and vinegar in a bowl with like a cup and a half of water and soak the cut carrots. They need to soak for about 45 minutes.
Cut up your pepper, cilantro, cucumber and onion and toss it in a bowl as you would greens for a salad. I added a little bit of soy sauce to this and put it aside.
Mix a little (or a lot) of Hoisin in with your "mayo" and add a little Sriracha for zazz and set aside. There are no measurements for this because it's better to suit your own taste with this than to follow a recipe. You want a spicy sandwich, add a lot of Sriracha. You want a more savory sandwich, as a lot of Hoisin. Whatever.
Dogs are not very helpful in the kitchen because they have no thumbs and have a hard time controlling their appetites. But they are good for vacuuming up any tofu you drop on the floor.
Time to fry your tofu. I like it scrambled, so to speak, and just cubed mine and mixed it all up in the pan, like so. But if you're heavy into tofu you can do slabs and fry those. Also, you only need a little bit of sesame oil (or olive oil or whatever, your prerogative) and can call it a day, but I also added soy sauce, sesame seeds and garlic powder to the pan as well for flavor.
After your tofu has been browned it is time for sandwich construction. You can see the tofu, "mayo" mixture and veggies here all ready to hop into this sandwich and then into my belly. All of this made 4 sandwiches perfectly with about a cup of the veggies left over. Also, I added some soy sauce directly onto the bread for more zazz.
And ta~da! You have a totally amazing delicious Vietnamese Sandwich! Prep time for me was about 30-45 minutes, so this is something perfect to make when you're pinched for time but need to impress your friends with your worldly and adventurous culinary skills. For variations, you can add some kind of meat, although I don't really know what would be good...probably like some beef? Don't ask me. You can also add Daikon radish to the mix. But know that my way is the best way, and this was so delicious that I will be eating one for lunch AND dinner today.