Found everywhere on the streets of Vietnam, banh mi is an irresistible sandwich that typically calls for pate, ham, head cheese, and an array of pickled vegetables stuffed inside a crackly baguette. The Viet-French specialty is completely customizable and many variations on the amazing sandwich can be found. This recipe calls for a combination of sweet-savory grilled chicken, spicy jalapenos, and pickled carrots and daikon, but you can easily substitute in pork belly or as your main protein, or even grilled tofu for a vegetarian-friendly option (you'll have to leave out the pate, of course).
Turn up the spice levels by spreading on Sriracha, or adding red pepper flakes to the chicken marinade. Another simple, but delicious upgrade is a homemade aioli. You can also add other cool and crunchy vegetables—English cucumbers are always a refreshing choice when they peak in the summer months.
- For the Marinade:
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- For the Pickled Vegetables:
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 cups water (warm)
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 pound carrots (julienned into very thin strips)
- 1/2 pound daikon radish (julienned into very thin strips)
- For the Sandwich:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 Vietnamese rolls or small French baguettes
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 pound chicken liver pate
- 1 cup sliced English cucumbers
- Sliced jalapenos (for garnish)
- Cilantro (for garnish)
Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or a plastic bag. Add the chicken to the marinade, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and no more than 3 hours.
While the chicken is marinating, prepare the pickled vegetables. Add the salt and sugar to the warm water and stir until everything has dissolved. Add in the vinegar and stir. Place the carrots and radishes in a large bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over the top Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 week.
Heat your grill or grill pan on medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken and cook for about 4 minutes per side or until completely cooked through. Remove the chicken from the heat and set aside until you're ready to assemble the sandwiches.
Split the bread, but don't cut it all the way through, leaving a hinge. Toast the baguettes if you wish, then slather one side with mayo and the other with the pate. Add the chicken as the first layer, then top with the pickled vegetables, jalapenos, cilantro, and cucumber. Cut in half and serve with more mayo, Sriracha, and extra toppings! Dig in immediately for best results.