Friday, September 23, 2011

Banh Mi a good sandwich!

Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sub sandwich. I have never had the pleasure of having one. Even though I have Vietnamese friends, they have not fed me one. For that, I shame them. ;) Now that I follow a vegan diet, it makes it a little tough.  The most common fillings in a Banh Mi is some kind of meat, usually pork, cucumber, cilantro, chili peppers, do chua (pickled carrot and daikon) and mayonnaise.
Note: daikon is a white root vegetable. It looks like a massive white carrot. It’s the shredded white stuff that is next to your salmon/tuna sashimi. In Japanese cuisine, we pickle it as well, but its yellow. It’s a MAJAH childhood favorite for me. Its stinky and an acquired taste. Once you acquire it, you will never let it go! Lol

Back to Banh Mi: there are many variations and you can really do a lot with this sandwich. I made one last night for the first time. It was fun! But it was also challenging because I have no idea about this sub. So I put my own vegan, healthy twist on a classic Vietnamese meal. I got the recipe online somewhere, probs Vegweb and adjusted it to my liking.

Banh Mi with Lemongrass Tofu

Do chua (pickles)
1 cup julienned daikon
1 cup julienned carrots
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

1 package tofu
5 tbsp soy sauce
5 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 stick lemongrass, minced
2 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp water

4 tablespoons vegannaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1-2 tbsp soy sauce

Additional fillings
1 medium cucumber, sliced lengthwise
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
Small handful cilantro

For the do chua (pickles):
In a container, combine sugar, salt, vinegar, and water. Add daikon and carrots and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Drain completely before using. TIP: The do chua is VERY stinky. Keep it in a glass jar from salsa or something.
For the tofu:
Slice the tofu into ¼ inch pieces and press to remove excess water. Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, water, lemongrass, and garlic. Marinate the tofu in the sauce for at least one hour.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. TIP: lemon grass is tough. I processed it and the garlic in the food processor and then mixed it with the other ingredients.
For the spread:
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, cilantro and soy sauce. (I don’t like cilantro so I omitted it, but I think it might be key, so add it in if you like it!)
To serve:
Spread mayonnaise on top and bottom halves of your baguette or bread. Arrange fillings and garnishes: cucumber, do chua, tofu, jalapeno, and cilantro.

Traditionally it is supposed to be on a baguette. I had the intention of getting baguettes and making it like that but there are 2 issues I ran into. Firstly, I’m a health fanatic and I really don’t like to eat white breads of any kind. So I had planned to stop by cobs and pick up some whole grain whole wheat buns. Secondly, I get distracted easily. Especially by shiny things. Lol No seriously, I walked into Cobs Bread and got dazzled by their NEW bread! Its Chia and Flax seed with whole wheat flour!!! Wha Wha! It’s like they’re speaking my language. SO baguettes be damned. Oops.
Mmmmmm right?!!! I gave a taste to my coworkers and they LOVED it. Said it was SO tasty, surprisingly so.

There is a Vietnamese restaurant on Davie called Bao Qi that has a couple vegan options on the menu. A vegan Lemongrass tofu Banh Mi and a vegan fresh spring roll. I must try it so I can see how this compares to my creation.
I also made some cookies. The recipe is a mash up of 3 people’s thoughts. Firstly a friend got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and changed it to have no oil or sugar. Then I got a hold of it and added a few ingredients and veganized it.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tsp agave nectar
2 tbsp almond milk
¾  cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼  teaspoon salt
1 ½  cups rolled oats
½ cup quick oats
¾  cup raisins
½  cup walnuts, chopped
Handful carob chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
In food processor blend bananas, margarine, almond milk, agave nectar, vanilla and salt. I add the salt to the wet ingredients because I use course sea salt. This way it can dissolve more. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and cinnamon together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes or up to an hour. This will make the cookies thicker and chewier. Once chilled, arrange on a baking sheet in whatever shapes you like and bake for 10 to 12 minutes (baking time varies depending on oven and thickness). Take them out when golden around the edges but slightly undercooked on top.  Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.
LOL so apparently they are good. In fact, she said they are the best cookies I’ve made so far. J

This weekend I think I’m going to make some banana bread. I got a recipe from Fat Free Vegan. She doesn’t cook with any added oils or fats. She just uses whole foods and naturally occurring fats like in avocado, nuts and seeds. So we’ll see how that turns out. I’ve also had a craving for Gnocchi. I picked up some whole wheat gnocchi a while back so I’ll create some fun with that. I’m thinking garlic, spinach and sundried tomatoes. Mmmmmm.

 OH and I got the pics from the T.O.F.U tshirt photoshoot. Its not for the magazine, just for the site. They had some extra shirts left over from their promotional tour so I volunteered to be a model. It was fun and a great opportunity to meet some like minded peeps. And eat vegan pizza. YUM!
Fun right?!

These shots were taken at the Vegan Pizza House on Kingsway. 2119 Kingsway. And they do deliver, even downtown. But keep in mind, they take forever to get to you. The pizza will still be hot and amazing though.

I got to keep the black tshirt. Its made out of hemp. Lol so hippy and I love it.

My jams: the J. Cole album, the new Nicola Roberts album, Rihanna ft Calvin Harris - we found love

Have a good weekend!




1 comment:

  1. Thanks again for modelling and helping eat the pizza. If you happen to come across any vegan South Korean options in this fair city, let me know. It seems I landed a job over there for November, so I should probably get accustomed to their cuisine. Or at least a variation of it!