Mmm fresh herbs, a large handful of veg and the gorgeous savoury umami taste of sauces and meats, the Banh Mi is my absolute favourite sandwich but one I have never attempted to make at home, until today. Turns out, it is extremely simple and I made it with all co-op / tesco found ingredients, except maybe the finishing touch of fish sauce which you will have to source at an Asian grocers or order online. The sandwich and a side salad took me less than 10 minutes to assemble and tasted just exactly as I imagined.
It was so so fresh, savoury with a hint of sour and sweet and just the perfect summer meal with all its fresh vegetables inside. Not to mention it is a great way to incorporate those beautiful crunchy crust baguettes you see in all the shops! The recipe I will be sharing is one I just made with what I had at home, but you can absolutely mix and match (and even try source vegetarian ‘meat’ or even vegan / gluten free bread and meat options!).
HISTORY OF BANH MI
Just because I love a little bit of history (which you can feel free to skip if you’d like to get right to the recipe below), let me tell you a little about the Banh Mi and how it was created. The Banh Mi, also sometimes called the Saigon Roll, is credited to a couple named Mr and Mrs. Le in Saigon who still run their restaurant Banh Mi Hoa Ma to this day. The history of the baguette bread being incorporated into Vietnamese cuisine stems from when the French ruled Vietnam from 1887 to 1954 during the Indochinese Union. As the French left to join the First World War, the limited supply of bread which were originally shipped specifically into Vietnam were suddenly made available in the market to the locals, who started adapting local recipes to incorporate these new ingredients. The Banh Mi is an amazing example of how fusing fresh Vietnamese flavours with a French style bread makes for an absolutely gorgeous meal.
(makes two portions, cooking time none, cutting and assembling time 10 mins)
- a Baguette (3 portions in one long baguette!)
- a bag of salad, I like the rocket, spinach and watercress mix.
- one carrot
- cooked rotisserie chicken breast or thigh, one breast was enough for two portions.
- one small cucumber
- one large spring onion
- one small chilli pepper
- a handful of coriander
- oyster sauce
- hoisin sauce
- fish sauce
*You can add as much, or as little, of any of all the ingredients on this list to suit your taste!
- Peel your cucumber and carrot then lightly shave a few strips of your cucumber with the peeler, and use a julienne tool for your carrot for small thin strips! I usually julienne the whole carrot whilst only peeling 1-3 strips of cucumber so it adds a bit of freshness but doesn’t overpower the taste.
- Now slice your cooked chicken breast into super thin slices (like ham!). Cut your spring onion into 2 inch long pieces and halve. Finally chop up your chilli into thin slices and tear some coriander leaves in preperation.
- Now the prep is done, slice your large baguette into three chunks and halve two of them, slicing lengthways from the side. Lightly slather one side with mayonnaise and the other with a mix of oyster and hoisin sauce.
- Now fill your Banh Mi with your a handful of salad leaves, your cucumber, carrot and then the chicken. Topping finally with your chillis, coriander and a few drops of fish sauce for that added umami flavour. And there you have a gorgeous, fresh sandwich to bring in your day!
- Serve on its own or with a fresh green side salad!