A sandwich is the perfect way to enjoy a simple, yet filling meal. If your taste buds are tired of traditional fare, it’s time to explore sandwiches from other cultures.
A modern Vietnamese bahn mi (pronounced BUN-mee) sandwich is a delicious melding of meat, Asian spices and other ingredients encased in a French baguette. It was introduced by the French to the people of Saigon in 1976.
Originally, the bahn mi consisted of buttered baguettes (which locals called banh tay—literally, “foreign cake”) and ham or pâté. As time went on, the sandwich took on a decidedly Asian flare. The Vietnamese version of the bahn mi sandwich came to include a variety of meats, including sardines, shredded chicken, grilled pork patties, barbequed meatballs, fried eggs and bean curd.
The banh mi, along with its unique variations, migrated to America along with Vietnamese families who fled the country in the 1960s and 1970s, during the war. They further enhanced the traditional bahn mi with ingredients found in their new home.
Today, a variety of bahn mi sandwiches are available, from barbequed pork to vegetarian tofu versions topped with marinated vegetables, spicy chili sauce, soy sauce or mayonnaise, encased in a warm baguette or a flour tortilla. If a Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich isn’t sold in your area, you can make them at home using this wonderful recipe.
You can make the crunchy, marinated carrot topping for this traditional sandwich ahead of time and store it in an air-tight container. If daikon radish isn’t available in your area, use 1/4 cup peeled and shredded red radish as a substitute.
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup daikon or red radish, peeled and shredded
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons stevia
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2-½ tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2½ tablespoons low-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
3 (12-inch) baguettes, halved lengthwise
1 pound (16-20 count) peeled, cooked shrimp, tails removed, cut in half
18 thin slices of cucumber
3 scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 kiwi, thinly sliced, optional
Place carrot, radish, stevia, salt and vinegar in a small bowl; stir to combine. Let marinate while preparing other ingredients.
Place cilantro, mayonnaise, yogurt, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and Sriracha in a medium bowl; stir to combine. Spread 2 teaspoons of this sauce on the bottom half of each baguette. Add shrimp to the remaining sauce; toss to coat.
Using a slotted spoon, divide carrot mixture among the baguettes (discard remaining vinegar). Top with shrimp, cucumber, scallions and kiwi fruit slices, if desired. Cut each baguette into two 6-inch sandwiches.
The Kitchen Diva is Angela Shelf Medearis, a regular guest chef on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Today Show.” She is the author of many cookbooks, including, “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” She blogs for Vitacost.com and Momonomics.com on a weekly basis.