Happy belated Easter! I hope everyone had a great day relaxing and celebrating with family and friends. I had quite a busy and stressful week at work, so it was nice to finally be able to just enjoy the day and relax. I spent the day with friends at church celebrating our Risen Savior and relaxing at home in preparation of another busy week.
The day also gave me the chance to execute and write part 2 of the series we began last week. Remember how I took a trip home and harvested some fresh produce from the farm? Last week’s column featured the daikon I had gathered and mixing it with carrots to be pickled. I wanted them to rest in the jar for the week and be used later on a delicious Ban Mi sandwich.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the pickling of the vegetables. Next time, I would probably add less water, more vinegar, and seal them in a jar with a tight lid rather than a Tupperware container.
What is Ban Mi you may be wondering? Well, it is a Vietnamese-style sandwich that can be made up of various meats, pickled and fresh vegetables, and garnished with a little sriracha or chili sauce. Typically the sandwiches are made with pork, but I already had chicken, so I decided to use that.
I was first introduced to Ban Mi when watching the show “The Great Food Truck Race.” The show featured a team called “Nom Nom Food Truck,” and they were all about Ban Mi sandwiches and other Vietnamese food. Later, when I attended a football game at the Rose Bowl they had specialty food trucks in the food zone area and Nom Nom was one of them! Of course I had to try it, and I immediately found a new type of food that I throughly enjoyed. Since the Nom Nom truck is not always around, I have learned to play around with recipes myself and attempt to recreate this tasty sandwich.
Following is the recipe that I used and played around with to make my sandwich. After eating it, there are a few things I would do differently to help enhance the flavor.
The following recipe is enough to make 2 sandwiches.
1 chicken breast
2 rolls of your choice (I went with a baguette roll.)
½ bunch cilantro leaves
2 jalapeno chilis, deseeded and thinly sliced
pickled carrots and daikon
½ cucumber thinly sliced
Lemongrass Pork Marinade:
½ cup minced lemongrass
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1½ tablespoons pepper
5 shallots, peeled and minced
3 gloves garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons regular cooking oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
One tablespoon sriracha or chili sauce combined with a little bit of heavy cream, or milk, or plain Greek yogurt. Just use enough to dilute the chili and make it a spread for the roll.
1). In a bowl mix all the ingredients for the marinade and add the chicken. Mix around and let set in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight. I let mine set for an hour and it was not enough. Definitely going to let it set overnight next time.
2). Preheat grill or cast iron skillet on the stove. Cook the chicken until it has a nice char on the outside but is not burned. Should be about 2-3 minutes on each side.
3). Remove chicken from the grill/pan and let set for a few minutes. Thinly slice the chicken and then build your sandwich. I spread some of the chili mixture on the bread and added the cucumber and then piled the rest of the ingredients on top.