Recently I was asked to review a new cookbook... A specialty book dealing with a Vietnamese specialty, Banh Mi Sandwiches. The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches ... Is a terrific specialty book arriving, for me, just in time. As my year is ending I am experimenting with a few additional items to be added to my catering menu. This concept and this sandwich have upped my game a lot.
The first chapter fo the book lays out the general concept and history of the Banh Mi Sandwich. Back before Vietnam was a country in US history books, the French had a go at running the country. This sandwich is a melding of the Asian and French ways to cook.
The basic sandwich is...
A vegetable (usually pickled)
A filling (meat and or Tofu)
A Bread (Anything from a Hoagie roll to a French Baguette)
A Fat (Mayo, Yogurt Spread, Avocado, etc.)
and all topped with a seasoning sauce (Hoisin, SOy... even simply Salt and Pepper).
The rest of the book is simple, easy to follow recipes for these ingredients. Chapters on sauces (I made and LOVED the Sriracha (rooster) Aioli (keep scrolling, recipe to follow), Meats (sure enough, drunken chicken (recipe to follow) and dozens more), Brewad formula to make your own rolls, and approriate Asian themed vegetables, including a quick 30 minute pickling recipe that really works!
I am including the recipes for the sandwich I made to help review the book. All of the recipes I tried and am listing here (Keep scrolling, you will see the recipes for the Drunken Chicken, Sriracha Sauce and quick pickled Carrots) worked to a tea. The sandwich was unique, LOADED with flavors and will be a welcome addition to my catering menu.
I can not recommend this book higher, Easy to follow, plenty fo history and explanation as well as encouragement to experiment on your own. This is more than just Subway Sandwich tutorials.
A cookbook devoted to the beloved Vietnamese sandwich, with 50 recipes ranging from classic fillings to innovative modern combinations.
Created by Vietnamese street vendors a century or so ago, banh mi is a twist on the French snack of pâté and bread that is as brilliant as it is addictive to eat. Who can resist the combination of crisp baguette, succulent filling, and toppings like tangy daikon and carrot pickles, thin chile slices, refreshing cucumber strips, and pungent cilantro sprigs? You’ll have ample opportunities to customize your sandwich with filling options such as grilled pork, roast chicken, and “the special”—a delectable combination of garlicky pork, liver pâté, and Vietnamese cold-cuts.
Opening a new realm of flavor for anyone tired of standard sandwich fare, The Banh Mi Handbookpresents more than fifty recipes and numerous insights for crafting a wide range of sandwiches, from iconic classics to modern innovations, including:
Crispy Drunken Chicken
Shrimp in Caramel Sauce
Grilled Lemongrass Pork
Beef and Curry Sliders
Coconut Curry Tofu
Lettuce Wrap Banh Mi
Respected food writer Andrea Nguyen’s simple, delicious recipes for flavor-packed fillings, punchy homemade condiments, and crunchy, colorful pickled vegetables bring the very best of Vietnamese street food to your kitchen.
Here's the legal stuff... "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review." But the review and opinions are 100% accurate and mine!". Love this book and highly recommend it!
- 3 Medium Cloves Garlic, Smashed and Minced until it makes a paste
- 1 Pinch Sea Salt
- 1 TBS White Vinegar
- 3 TBS Sriracha Sauce (the Rooster Sauce)
- 1 Large Egg, I used a chilled egg fresh from the fridge
- 1 Cup Canola Oil
- In the small work bowl of a food processor, add the Minced Garlic, Sea Salt, Vinegar, Sriracha and egg and process for about 30 seconds until a creamy orange mixture appears.
- Through the feed tube, with the blades running, add a slow drizzle 1/2 Cup of the Canola Oil, a steady stream about as thin as Angel Hair Pasta. Add the second half cup a little faster (stream as thick as a chopstick).
- After about 2 minutes, all of the oil should be added and your fresh made mayo should be thickened, creamy and spreadable.
- Taste, add additional salt for savoriness, vinegar for tartness or Sriracha for heat. Allow the sauce to rest covered in the fridge for 30 minutes for all of the flavors to mix.
- Serve as a condiment and ENJOY!
OK... Here's what I did...
Quick Pickle Carrots
- 1 Cup Carrot (cut into matchstick size pieces)
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 TBS plus 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1 1/4 Cup White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Luke Warm Water
- Peel and cut the carrot into matchstick (the old fashioned wooden type) size pieces.
- Put the matchsticks in a bowl and sprinkle with the Salt and Sugar. Massage the vegetables for a couple of minutes until they soften enough to bend at the middle and touch tips without breaking.
- Flush with running water and drain
- Shake to expel the water.
- Transfer to a pint size mason jar.
- Mix the vinegar and remaining 1/2 Cup, Add this to the mason jar. Top with water to cover. Cover the jar and allow to rest room temperature for 1 hour before using.
- Use as a condiment and ENJOY!
Drunken Crispy Chicken
- 1-1/2 pounds (6-7) Boneless skinless Chicken Thighs
- Pinch Sea Salt
- 3 TBS plus 1/2 Cup Cornstarch
- 3-1/2 TBS Rice Wine, Dry Sherry (I had neither, I used Saki)
- 1 TBS Canola Oil Plus additional for frying
- 1 Inch segment of Raw Ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 TBS Sugar
- 1-1/2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
- 6 TBS Water
- 2 tsp Cornstarch DIssolved in 2 TBS Water
- Trim and discard big fat pads from the chicken.
- In a bowl combine salt, 3 TBS Cornstarch, 1 tsp Soy Sauce, 1 TBS of the Saki and 1 TBS of the Oil. Whisk to combine. Add the chicken, stirring to coat. Set aside to marinade for 15 minutes (seal in a ziplock bag and refrigerate if you are marinating longer.
- Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine the remaining 2 TBS Soy Sauce, with 1-1/2 TBS Saki, Garlic, Ginger, sugar, Vinegar and water. Taste and tweak for a tart-sweet-savory flavor to taste.
- Bring to simmer over medium heat. Then slightly lower the heat to percolate for 2 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and increase heat to a boil. After about 45 SECONDS, the mix should be thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool and the flavors to concentrate (about 30 minutes).
- Now, to fry the chicken, Add oil to a frying pan to the depth of 1 inch. heat of high heat to a temperature of 350 degrees. or when drops of water crackle and pop.
- As the oil heats, Working in batches, remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Dredge the chicken in the cornstarch, knocking off the excess.
- Fry the chicken for about 2-3 minutes per side until crispy and the color of golden autumn leaves. Drain on a rack,
- Serve as the meat of the sandwich and ENJOY!
When I went to assemble the sandwich, I added a couple of items...
A layer of Red Cabbage
A layer of Pickles (from my pantry... Pickled myself last summer)
A layer of Pickles (from my pantry... Pickled myself last summer)
And a Pickled vegetable relish I had also made last summer).
Plus the pickled carrots, Spicy Sriracha Aioli and the Drunken Chicken on a Baguette!
OH MY... YUM INDEED!