I think the common perception about vegetarian sandwiches is that you are eating salad on a bun, or that they aren’t filling or satisfying. I am here to tell you are wrong; unless, of course, you agree with me, in which case you are totally right- veggie sandwiches are awesome!
If you are unfamiliar with banh mi, it’s a Veitamese sandwich that has become super popular over that last few months. I found a site called Banh Mi Battle that explains the specifics.Traditionally there are many variations, most of which involve meat however there are also a few variations (tofu or wheat gluten prepared different ways or eggs) that fall under the banh mi chay that are vegetarian.
So what is the good word on this sandwich? Oh banh mi chay how I love thee, let me count the ways. First up you have such a variety of textures, the soft and chewy roll, the meaty tofu with crispy edges, and the crunch of the pickled radish and carrot. In my version I made a spicy mayo so the flavours range from spicy siracha, adding the freshness of the cucumber and cilantro, and sweetness from the grated carrot as well as salty-sour from the pickled radish. There is so much going on but yet it all works together to create a perfect sandwich. So what are you waiting for? Get on this now!
Banh Mi Chay
makes four sandwiches
- 1 package of firm tofu cut into 12 even slices
- 2-4 tbs olive oil
- 4 sturdy sandwich rolls (I used a kaiser roll but a baguette is more traditional)
- pickled radish
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 12-16 cucumber slices
- 1/2-1 cup loosely packed of cilantro, rinsed and trimmed
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup of olive oil mayonnaise or veganaise
- 1-2 tsp of sriracha (as per your taste)
Traditionally, the pickled component is julienned daikon and carrot – quick pickled. I wanted to keep it local and used local radishes and pickled them with onions. For the recipe please see my previous post here. Please do not skip this ingredient, it really rounds out the flavours.
Make the sriracha mayo by mixing mayo (or veganasie) and sriracha until completely blended and refrigerate until ready to use.
Drain tofu and slice width-wise into 12 equal portions. Pat dry with paper towel on both sides, season with salt and set aside.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Fry tofu in two batches until both sides are golden brown. Remove from the pan and let rest while you prepare the sandwiches.
Wash, peel and grate carrot. Slice cucumber and prepare cilantro.
Cut rolls in half and spread each side with sriracha mayo. Add 3 pieces of fried tofu to each roll, top with grated carrot, sliced cucumber, cilantro and pickled radish.
You could sprinkle with soy sauce, or sesame oil or if you would like extra heat add fresh jalapeno. Or be like me and eat, smile and repeat for breakfast the next day.