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A Sandwich in Any Language…

March 30, 2011

…is still delicious.  We may have to branch out here at the MHK and start a sandwich blog, because lately we have just been sandwich-saturated with international takes on that classic cuisine.  Maybe we’ll call it the “Blogwich” or something.  Anyway, today’s recipe is a version of a sandwich common in one of the places you’d least expect sandwiches to be considered a national dish:  Vietnam.  The banh mi is readily found in Vietnamese eateries, particularly ones that are more “fast food” Vietnamese as opposed to the fancier restaurants.  MHK reader Daniel commented on a recent recipe saying it was sort of like a breakfast banh mi, and as you’ll see with today’s recipe, he was on the right track.  It’s a historically interesting dish; the flavors are pretty much purely Vietnamese, but the influence of the French colonization of that part of the world comes through with the protein filling, and the fact that it’s a sandwich.  Traditionally the banh mi is made with thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon radish, cucumbers, cilantro, chili peppers, pâté, mayonnaise and various meat fillings or tofu.  The meats are usually roasted pork, Vietnamese sausage, ham, or cheese.  The meat actually takes a backseat to the garnishes in this sandwich, as all the flavor comes from the pickled carrots and radishes, along with the spicy chili peppers and the fresh cilantro.  It’s an absolutely delicious sandwich that can be made fairly quickly.  This recipe is from the Hannaford Supermarket magazine, but you can create your own variation as you see fit.  Enjoy!

Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

(serves 2)

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup distilled white vinegar

½ cup julienned carrot

1/4 cup julienned daikon radish

¼ tsp. Kosher salt

2 crusty sub rolls

1/4 cup mayo

1 tsp. spicy chili sauce (we recommend Sriracha)

1 small jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin rounds

½ lb. smoked ham or roast pork

¼ English cucumber, cut lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons

1 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, sugar and salt.  When sugar and salt dissolve, remove from heat and add carrots and daikon.  Stir to coat, transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine mayo and chili sauce until well mixed.  Split rolls in half lengthwise, build sandwiches: spread mayo on bottom half, top with jalapeno slices, then ham or pork, then cucumber slices, then carrot-radish slaw, then cilantro. Spread mayo on top half of roll and close.  Slice in half and eat!

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