by Chef Kendall Huff
Native Foods Cafe
I decided to do a little deconstruction on a delicious sandwich,
which also happens to be a favorite of mine: the Vietnamese Banh Mi. Although Banh Mi is the Vietnamese term
for all kinds of bread, it has become known as a popular type of Vietnamese
sandwich. We did the Banh Mi Special last July at Native Foods Cafe and it was a hit!
The classic version is
made with various Vietnamese cold cuts, liver pâté and vegetables. The
sandwich is a product of French colonialism in Indochina, combining ingredients from the French (baguettes, pâté
and mayonnaise) with native Vietnamese ingredients, such as cilantro, chili
peppers, and pickled carrots. So for the Tour of Asia cooking demos in
May, I decided to remove the bread and add some fresh crisp lettuce and savory
tofu… resulting in a dish perfect for hot summer days, when you want something
lighter, but still satisfying.
Vietnamese Banh Mi
Serves 3 or 4
1 lb firm tofu,
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup organic cane sugar
5 cloves garlic,
½ cup sweet chili sauce
¼ cup Sriracha hot sauce
1 whole jalapeno,
1 ½ tsp sea salt
In a Pickle:
1 cup hot water
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup organic cane sugar
¼ tsp crushed red
1 tsp salt
1 cup carrots,
1 cup daikon,
1 cup seedless cucumber,
For the Salad:
1 cup scallions,
1 cup carrots ,
1 cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup Thai basil*, chopped
4 cups romaine lettuce,
½ cup reserved marinade
¼ cup vegan mayo
sea salt to taste
ground black pepper
1. Combine all the
marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add in the tofu. Cover and
refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to an hour.
2- Next, whisk all
ingredients together for the pickling liquid.
the water isn’t boiling hot when you add the veggies. They will go limp*
4. Pour the pickling
liquid over the veggies and allow them to sit, at room temperature for at least
5. Chop all the
components for the salad and place them in a large mixing bowl. Toss them well.
5. Heat 2 oz of
water in a sauté pan and add the marinated tofu, with about ½ cup of the
marinade, to the pan (but reserving ½ cup of the marinade for the dressing).
6. Allow the tofu to
cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
7. In a separate
bowl, whisk together the vegan mayo and the marinade liquid. Pour the dressing
over the chopped salad mix in the large bowl.
8. Plate the dressed
salad on a large serving platter and arrange the seared tofu around the sides.
9. Top the salad
with the pickled veggies.
*Thai Basil is a
type of sweet basil native to Southeast Asia that has been cultivated to prove
specific flavors. It has small leaves with purple stems. It has a slight sweet
Native Foods Cafe vegan restaurant uses this image courtesy of Bon Appetit.