I developed this recipe for a recent "Tempeh and Seitan" demo for Northwest Veg here in Portland. You could switch out the seitan with tempeh or tofu. “Banh mi” is the Vietnamese term for “bread,” specifically a baguette-type roll that is a basic staple in Vietnam. There was a French presence in Vietnam for hundreds of years, leading to this fusion bread. The Vietnamese version has a thinner crust and contains rice flour as well as wheat. The well-known sandwich that you can get from food carts and take-out places gets its name from the bread it's built on.
Here are the layers, starting from the bottom:
- 6-7” Banh mi bread roll (or a section of baguette or other roll), split lengthwise (but leave them connected)
- A swipe of sriracha mayo on top and bottom sides of the roll (2 or 3 parts vegan mayo to 1 part sriracha)
- Thinly-sliced jalapeño, optional
- Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
- Thin slices of English cucumber (made with a peeler, mandoline or knife)
- A handful of pickled carrot and daikon radish (see recipe below)
- A layer of Seitan for Banh Mi (see recipe below)
- More sriracha on top, if desired
Pickled vegetables (enough for 4 sandwiches). These can be made up to several days ahead (in fact, that improves the flavor).
Pour the pickling ingredients into a glass or plastic container with a lid. Shake or stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- 1.5 cups water, warm enough to dissolve the salt and sugar
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ Tablespoon salt
Add vegetables. Add more water if needed to cover them. Secure the lid. Refrigerate until ready to use. It's best to give them several hours, if not a couple of days, to pickle them.
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned/grated/thinly sliced
- ½ daikon radish, peeled and julienned/grated/thinly sliced
Seitan for Banh Mi (enough for 4 sandwiches). In a shallow dish or a Ziplock gallon bag, mix the marinade ingredients together.
- 2 Tablespoons lemongrass, finely chopped (from frozen is fine)
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced or chopped
- 1.5 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame paste or tahini
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Add the slices of seitan and let them marinate for at least 20 minutes (preferably several hours).
- 8 ounces seitan, sliced into thin slices
A few minutes before assembling your sandwiches, heat a large skillet on the stove. Pour the seitan and all the marinade into the skillet and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the marinade is mostly absorbed, anywhere from, say, 3 to 10 minutes.
Timing: About 2 hours, including soaking. Hands-on time is much less, about 30 minutes
Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed
Not gluten-free unless you substitute tofu or tempeh for the seitan and use gluten-free bread