Talia’s Bad-A** Banh Mi

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One thing I still hold to be true is that eating out in San Francisco is cheaper than grocery shopping. This was especially true when I was a broke undergrad student working full-time while interning as a social worker, taking a full load of classes, and struggling to put gas in my precious little mustang, “Sugar”. Ah, memories!

Anyway, I was lucky enough to have some great friends who were born and raised in the city. They knew of all the best “Hole-in-the-wall” spots that had been open for years. Because these restaurants (and I use that term loosely when speaking of a few of them) weren’t using all of their income on fancy decor or social networking marketing plans, their prices stayed low while the quality of their food remained consistent. One of these local hubs was a little Vietnamese place off of Clement in the Inner Richmond. I’d let my friend order for me being prepared to brave whatever I unwrapped from that white butcher paper. . .

With my stomach grumbling I pulled back the paper and found caramelized Tofu in a soft French Baguette. I took a bite and felt the crunch of vinegared carrots & crisp cucumber spears! It was divine! But better yet, it was cheap and made two meals for me. The experience got even better when she slid this little cup of peanut sauce across the tilting metal table.

Since then, I’ve had quite a few of these French/Vietnamese fused sandwiches, but none have struck me to be as fulfilling as the first. I have re-created the sandwich, but have come to terms with not being able to re-create that feeling. The memory is enough for me.

Talia’s Bad A** Banh Mi:

I prefer not to cut it typical “sub-style”. When its done that way, the filling falls out, and then you end up with half a sandwich that is all bread. No thanks! So, I cut it a bit differently, but the instructions are below.

Ingredients:
(I KNOW IT LOOKS LIKE A LOT OF INGREDIENTS, BUT MOST OF THEM ARE PANTRY STAPLES. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED!!!)
 
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp ginger juice
2 clove garlic, crushed or 1 tsp garlic paste from a jar
1.5 tsp Sriracha
2 tsp honey
 
1-14oz package Firm Tofu
2 Tbsp coconut oil
 
4oz carrot matchsticks*
4oz daikon matchsticks*
 
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Sriracha
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tsp honey
 
4 french rolls
2 tbsp salted butter (Fine quality if possible), divided into 1/2 tbsp pieces
 
12 Sprigs Cilantro
2 Jalapenos- thinly sliced into rings, seeds & membrane removed
     (If you like spice, leave the seeds and membranes in the slices.)
 
Optional, but HIGHLY recommended: My Peanut Sauce
 
* Just weigh at the grocery store

Method:

1.  Prepare the tofu:

1. Line a plate with 2 layers of paper towels. Set aside.
2. Drain water from plastic container.
3. Remove tofu from plastic, and lay on prepared plate.
4. Lay two more paper towels over tofu.
5. Place heavy pan on top, (to gently push water out of the tofu), and allow to sit.
6. Let tofu “drain” for 15-20 minutes.
7. Cut into 1/4″ pieces, about 8 pieces.f6524bf5-6f55-4275-a948-301f7e08fb4a_zps53d85552
 

2. Marinade: In a large casserole dish, combine soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through honey), whisking to combine.

4. Lay tofu slices in the marinade. Allow to sit 4 min. Turn over, then marinate 4 minutes more.

18049d8d-fab9-46bc-b957-5fe324369dee_zps73a772365. Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. (If you don’t have a large enough pan to cook all the tofu at once, divide it into two batches, heating only 1 tbsp coconut oil at a time.)

Shaking excess marinade from each slice (DON’T THROW AWAY MARINADE!!! Directions to follow), transfer tofu to pan. Brown on each side, then remove from pan to a plate and cool. IMG_6818_zps30f49720(1)

6. To the reserved marinade, add Juice of 1 lime, and next 4 ingredients (through honey), and whisk to combine. Add daikon & carrot matchsticks to marinade, stirring to combine. Cover and allow to sit for 2-3 hours.

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7. If you are choosing to serve the sandwiches with Peanut Dipping Sauce, go ahead and make it while the veggies are marinading. (Serve it at room temperature.)

8. When ready to serve, cut french rolls. Here are the instructions:

cac2ef41-032d-434e-8575-6711b780386d_zps3ae8ac50← Holding the knife at a 90° angle, make a cut (not all the way through), along the short end of the roll.

← Along the long edge, cut down the side.b60d1d55-1455-4aa2-927c-b494c08e7f31_zps99b6e831

Repeat on other→ end, through other side.

9. Build Sandwiches:

Butter the top piece, or “lid”, of each roll with 1/2 tbsp of butter. Layer the prepared ingredients, dividing tofu among rolls, and topping with a heaping amount of marinaded carrot and daikon. Lay top piece over built sandwich.

d2cd551c-f8cb-4fcc-90cf-7563e58433f8_zps7c575060

 

cf2fd625-c5c1-458f-87cb-75d8ea2d3ef4_zpse1ee8d29

Talia’s Bad A** Banh Mi (Recipe without photos)

Ingredients:
(I KNOW IT LOOKS LIKE A LOT OF INGREDIENTS, BUT MOST OF THEM ARE PANTRY STAPLES. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED!!!)
 
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp ginger juice
2 clove garlic, crushed or 1 tsp garlic paste from a jar
1.5 tsp Sriracha
2 tsp honey
 
1-14oz package Firm Tofu
2 Tbsp coconut oil
 
4oz carrot matchsticks*
4oz daikon matchsticks*
 
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Sriracha
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tsp honey
 
4 french rolls
2 tbsp salted butter (Fine quality if possible), divided into 1/2 tbsp pieces
 
12 Sprigs Cilantro
2 Jalapenos- thinly sliced into rings, seeds & membrane removed
     (If you like spice, leave the seeds and membranes in the slices.)
 
* Just weigh at the grocery store

Method:

1.  Prepare the tofu:

1. Line a plate with 2 layers of paper towels. Set aside.
2. Drain water from plastic container.
3. Remove tofu from plastic, and lay on prepared plate.
4. Lay two more paper towels over tofu.
5. Place heavy pan on top, (to gently push water out of the tofu), and allow to sit.
6. Let tofu “drain” for 15-20 minutes.
7. Cut into 1/4″ pieces, about 8 pieces.
 

2. Marinade: In a large casserole dish, combine soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through honey), whisking to combine.

4. Lay tofu slices in the marinade. Allow to sit 4 min. Turn over, then marinate 4 minutes more.

5. Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. (If you don’t have a large enough pan to cook all the tofu at once, divide it into two batches, heating only 1 tbsp coconut oil at a time.)

Shaking excess marinade from each slice (DON’T THROW AWAY MARINADE!!! Directions to follow), transfer tofu to pan. Brown on each side, then remove from pan to a plate and cool.

6. To the reserved marinade, add Juice of 1 lime, and next 4 ingredients (through honey), and whisk to combine. Add daikon & carrot matchsticks to marinade, stirring to combine. Cover and allow to sit for 2-3 hours.

7. If you are choosing to serve the sandwiches with Peanut Dipping Sauce, go ahead and make it while the veggies are marinading. (Serve it at room temperature.)

8. When ready to serve, cut french rolls. Here are the instructions:

Holding the knife at a 90° angle, make a cut (not all the way through), along the short end of the roll.

Along the long edge, cut down the side.

Repeat on other end, through other side.

9. Build Sandwiches:

Butter the top piece, or “lid”, of each roll with 1/2 tbsp of butter. Layer the prepared ingredients, dividing tofu among rolls, and topping with a heaping amount of marinaded carrot and daikon. Lay top piece over built sandwich.

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