09 June, 2013

Banh Mi a sandwich already!

It's true. I like what the Banh Mi Boys do.  A lot a lot.

from blogTO
from thegridTO
They're my non-existent Asian grandmother's BBQ secrets carefully written down and translated by my fictional Asian hipster cousins, presented to an adoring public in a club-like atmosphere to throngs in downtown Toronto. The food is killer so you wait. People do that here.  (You know the space is loud when you step outside after eating one of their high flavour, inventive sandwiches into one of Canada's largest city's noisiest corners and it seems quiet.)

I think about their sandwiches and cannot get them out of my mind. Off I go on my bike to Spadina and Queen.  I've turned Nick onto them and proudly introduced another friend to the taste that is BBB. Even Fresh has their version of the Banh Mi sandwich (not served in their restaurants, but in their latest cookbook).

I read a quote from Calvin Trillin in a New Yorker magazine inherited from a family friend with a subscription:  "The only good argument for colonialism is the banh mi sandwich."  Ah, colonialism  jokes, so precious. 

Here's a recipe you can follow and get inspired by.  Easily replace tofu with chicken, beef, pork, squid or grilled fish.  The bread must not be regular sliced bread. That would be borrring...

Banh Mi
(c) 2011 from "Fresh: New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes from Fresh Restaurants"
serves 4

the slaw
2 cups julienned daikon
2 cups julienned carrots
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup agave

the protein
4 Tbsp canola oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 block tofu slices 

the sandwich
small bunch of cilantro sprigs
slathering of good mayonnaise (or Veganaise is quite good)
16 slices cucumber
4 large crusty whole wheat buns or a baguette 

Marinate the tofu in the oil-tamari-garlic mixture for at least 30 minutes. In a separate bowl marinate the daikon and carrots in the vinegar mixture for at least 20 minutes.

You can either grill the tofu or eat it as is.   Pour the carrot mixture through a strainer to rid excess liquid.

Warm the bread and spread on as much mayo suits you.  Layer on the tofu, slaw mixture, cucumber and cilantro and press the bread halves together.

Serve with a side of sweet potatoes fries or green salad, if desired.