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Cook-Off 60: Banh Mi


David Ross
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17 minutes ago, Duvel said:


When I don’t have daikon at hand (more often than not), I use just the quick-pickled carrot ribbons and cukes. For me, its about that fresh crunch, paired with the cilantro (which is not optional) ...

So Cilantro is a key ingredient? I like Cilantro, i dont stock it, but its cheap enough.

 

Is the meat simliar to char su flavor? I wonder if my bull head bbq marinated chicken would work for this sandwich.

 

Its strange, we have Vietnamese restuarants in my area but they only specialize in Pho. I hyave never seen sandwiches on the menu's.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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4 hours ago, FeChef said:

is Diakon essential? Could Celery or cucumber be subbed?

 

Daikon is commonly used in Vietnam, but not so much as a sub for cucumber, more in addition to. I've never seen celery in a bánh mì in Vietnam, that I recall.

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1 hour ago, FeChef said:

So Cilantro is a key ingredient? I like Cilantro, i dont stock it, but its cheap enough.


For me this is an essential part of the game. 
 

However, I would not overstress the authenticity part. From my viewpoint, it is a kind of street food and inherently flexible. I usually aim to have these categories of ingredients in it:

 

creamy/fatty: pâté, mayo (I like kewpie)

protein with mouthfeel: cooked/braised/grilled meats, slices 

crunchy/fresh: quick pickled curls, carrot, daikon, cabbage

herbal: cilantro, mint, garlic chives

salty/umami: Vietnamese hoisin, bean sauce

spicy: chili, chili condiments

 

 

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5 hours ago, Duvel said:

I usually aim to have these categories of ingredients

I have sometimes fantasized about all “recipes” being written as

 

salt/soy sauce/fish sauce/anchovies

sugar/honey/maple syrup

lemon juice/vinegar/tamarind/lime juice

beef/chicken/rabbit


You get the idea. Many cooks mentally make this adjustment but I think it might do more to teach the rest of us (yes, I definitely include myself) that a recipe is a suggestion not a prescription. 

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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13 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I have sometimes fantasized about all “recipes” being written as

 

salt/soy sauce/fish sauce/anchovies

sugar/honey/maple syrup

lemon juice/vinegar/tamarind/lime juice

beef/chicken/rabbit


You get the idea. Many cooks mentally make this adjustment but I think it might do more to teach the rest of us (yes, I definitely include myself) that a recipe is a suggestion not a prescription. 

 


You make a very valid point. For me, this is the essence of the “skill” cooking. To know why a certain quality (acid, fat, salt ...) is required in a dish and how to creatively adjust or substitute it. If you combine that with a solid repertoire of basic preparations (frying, braising, grilling, ...), you are all set ...

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When making sandwiches lately, I've been remembering Max Halley's six word "secret of deliciousness,"  Hot, Cold, Sweet, Sour, Crunchy, Soft.  He doesn't call out umami but certainly incorporates it in his recipes. 

Applies as nicely to banh mi as to the ham, egg & chips sandwich illustrated on the cover of his book. 

A85710AD-62F1-41F7-80AB-47662042D3CA.thumb.jpeg.a5ed5a133ad2a5cd9f83318697397da3.jpeg

 

 

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For me, the pickled daikon is essential to the sandwich.

 

I like cilantro in the sandwich, but I've had banh mi without cilantro. (Restaurant ran out of cilantro.) I was disappointed, but the sandwich was still tasty. I survived.

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1 hour ago, MokaPot said:

For me, the pickled daikon is essential to the sandwich.

 

I like cilantro in the sandwich, but I've had banh mi without cilantro. (Restaurant ran out of cilantro.) I was disappointed, but the sandwich was still tasty. I survived.


I never had a Banh Mi in a restaurant setting. In fact I never had Banh Mi outside of Vietnam. The many, many times I had the chance to enjoy it there, usage of cilantro was liberal and thus for me something is missing without. YMMV.

Edited by Duvel (log)
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4 minutes ago, Duvel said:


I never had a Banh Mi in a restaurant setting. In fact I never had Banh Mi outside of Vietnam. The many, many times I had the chance to enjoy it there, usage of cilantro was liberal and thus for me something is missing without. YMMV.

 

It was actually a takeout place. I was just trying to distinguish that sandwich from something homemade.

 

I can understand cilantro (or not) being a deal-breaker for some.

 

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1 hour ago, Duvel said:

The many, many times I had the chance to enjoy it there, usage of cilantro was liberal and thus for me something is missing without. YMMV.

I hated cilantro. Hated it. Hated it. But as I learned to eat banh mi I gradually overcame at least some of my hatred. Now while I will discard much of the cilantro on the sandwich I find I have to keep some just to make it taste the way I want. Weird. For anything but the sandwich I will dig out and discard any cilantro. No accounting for folks as they say. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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20 hours ago, Duvel said:


For me this is an essential part of the game. 
 

However, I would not overstress the authenticity part. From my viewpoint, it is a kind of street food and inherently flexible. I usually aim to have these categories of ingredients in it:

 

creamy/fatty: pâté, mayo (I like kewpie)

protein with mouthfeel: cooked/braised/grilled meats, slices 

crunchy/fresh: quick pickled curls, carrot, daikon, cabbage

herbal: cilantro, mint, garlic chives

salty/umami: Vietnamese hoisin, bean sauce

spicy: chili, chili condiments

 

 

Well, I blame covid, but local grocery had NO fresh Cilantro. It was already late, and i didn't feel like driving another 10 min out of my way to another grocery store. So squeeze tube cilantro it is. lol

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So, ive made this sandwich almost every day since friday. I went with local bolillo rolls. They are light and airy with a nice skin that isnt crusty until you bake it for a few minutes. I will say, i prefer Braggs amino over Maggi. And a sweeter marinade then a salty one for chicken thighs. I am still undecided if i like the squeeze tube cilantro or the fresh cilantro. The tube cilantro adds and extra umami element, but the fresh cilantro adds that fresh element , so maybe next time i should add a bit of both. Thin sliced japeno's are a must. And Diakon is much better then standard red radish. Cucumber and green onion is a great addition.

 

 

20210427_002713.jpg

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11 hours ago, FeChef said:

So, ive made this sandwich almost every day since friday. I went with local bolillo rolls. They are light and airy with a nice skin that isnt crusty until you bake it for a few minutes. I will say, i prefer Braggs amino over Maggi. And a sweeter marinade then a salty one for chicken thighs. I am still undecided if i like the squeeze tube cilantro or the fresh cilantro. The tube cilantro adds and extra umami element, but the fresh cilantro adds that fresh element , so maybe next time i should add a bit of both. Thin sliced japeno's are a must. And Diakon is much better then standard red radish. Cucumber and green onion is a great addition.

 

 

20210427_002713.jpg

Looks delicious and I like how you used the rolls.

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7 hours ago, David Ross said:

Looks delicious and I like how you used the rolls.

Yes the bolillo rolls was a great choice. I cut about 1/2 way in, then baked for 3-4 min at 350F. While still hot, i opened it up and removed almost to the thin top crust. I was then able to put a thin coat of mayo on the bottom, and top, then a few dashes of Braggs, then pile all the fix'ns in. My mouth is watering, and im all out of rolls........

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If anyone is interested in the Marinade i use for the chicken thighs or pork its this:

1/4 cup sugar
4 TBSP mirin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tsp oyster sauce
2 tsp sweet soy sauce (abc) 
1 tsp soybean/sesame oil
4 TBSP bull head bbq sauce
4 TBSP teryaki sauce

Thats for about 2lbs of chicken thighs or pork. 

I use a vacuum tumbler @ 30 psi for 30 minutes, but you could just marinate for 4+ hours.

 

PS: you could probably sub the oyster sauce and the sweet soy sauce for Hoisin sauce, but im not a fan of hoisin sauce so thats why i used oyster and sweet soy.

FYI: The bull head bbq sauce is imo the star of the show, Its so thick you have to dilute it to work as a marinade. Hense, all the other ingredients. LOL

 

 

Edited by FeChef (log)
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