Here’s an easy guide and recipe instructions on how to make the most bangin’ bahn mi. it will be even better if you can source a few key ingredients that will set this recipe apart. In the end, i feel it comes the closest to the Vietnamese sandwiches i grew up with in New Orleans. and in my opinion, the New Orleans Vietnamese community makes the best in the country! You too can make the ultimate vegan bahn mi!
A few notes before we begin
Please! give yourself time to source these ingredients. It may take a little time or effort. But, if you’re doing any vegan cooking on the regular, you’ll find that these ingredients can be used throughout many variations of things you’re already making, and will probably make them even better. Once you get the ingredients together, this sandwich is a snap. and you’ll find yourself making them all the time.
the three most difficult, yet important items, will be the bread, vegan meat, and pate. uh? Pate you say? Yes i did. It is a subtle but strong background flavor and texture to any memorable bahn mi. the good news is, there is a vegan soy based version that can be obtained. If your in Europe, it should be easier to find, as it is produced in places like Romania and Czech republic. click here to read about vegan soy pate and where to find it. Just order some! Trust me. In the meantime, you can use avocado. There’s no shame in this substitution. And is an almost seamless and healthy swap out.
Vegan meat. The first and most recommended type is Verisoy’s premium vegan chicken roll. Second, is the Verisoy basic vegan chicken roll. And thirdly, fried tofu. Whether you fry it yourself, or get it pre-fried from the Asian market, its probably the standard for a vegan bahn mi. But you’ll want to try to search your local Asian markets freezer section for this and other Tiawanese vegan goods. And being one of the most economical , versatile, and tasty faux meats, this should be a regular pantry item anyway.
The bread. Bread selection is crucial. And i’ll be adamant about using the right type. The right type is preferably going to be coming from a good Vietnamese bakery. Secondly, a Bolillo, a type of Mexican baguette from a Mexican bakery works almost as well. Do not use a chewy baguette. Do not use a hoagie roll. Between the mayo, pickles, avocado/pate, and possibly tofu, you do not want any bread that has a tough chewy crust. All those squishy ingredients will go right out the side of the sandwich. That’s a mess no’one wants. Choose a bread that is light and not dense. No thick crust, just a super thin crust that is brittle and toasts up well, and breaks apart easily. If all else fails, see if you can find a large vegan Croissant instead of a tough artisan baguette.
step one: gather the ingredients
- Vietnamese baguette, Mexican bollilo, or large vegan croissant.
- vegan buttery spread, i use miyokos brand.
- vegan mayo, i use Wildwood garlic aoli.
- vegan soy pate or avocado.
- Verisoy premium vegan chicken roll vegan chicken roll or fried tofu.
- Persian cucumber or regular cucumber.
- diakon radish
- mae ploy sweet chili sauce or chili sauce + sugar.
- clear rice vinegar
- sriracha sauce
- hoisin sauce
day before prep
if you can, make the pickled carrot and diakon radish the day before or make a big jar for the week. julienne a carrot and diakon about in equal amounts or use slightly more diakon. Place in an airtight container and add rice vinegar and mae ploy sweet chili sauce. Mix well and place in fridge.
step two: do some prep
- if you haven’t done this earlier, julienne one carrot and diakon about 50/50 or slightly more diakon. Place in an airtight container and sprinkle some rice vinegar and add a spoonful of mae ploy sweet chilli sauce. mix well and place in fridge.
- slice up Verisoy or tofu into thick sandwich slices, a few per sandwich to make a thin layer. Set aside.
- use a peeler to make a couple long slices of cucumber, do the same with the jalapeno, i prefer long thin slices. Then set aside.
- pull out a few stems of cilantro. you can use just the leaves if you prefer, but stem and leaf seems traditional. Set aside.
- if using avocado, prepare a couple thin slices per sandwich.
- soften the vegan buttery spread, so that it spreads easier later.
- drain and squeeze out any moisture from the pickle mix, set aside, and possibly on a paper towel to soak up extra moisture.
step three : put it together
I like to have all these items arranged in little stacks on a cutting board or bowls for easy access. I also like to have the mayo jar and pate open with a knife ready to go. And condiments like sriracha and hoisin sauce set out ready to go. Then in this order:
- slice the bread almost all the way and fold open, and toast it just a bit.
- arrange toasted bread and first add butter to both sides just enough to coat.
- spread mayo on one half, spread pate or avocado slices on the other.
- set down a thin layer of cucumber.
- splay out a layer of your pre-sliced verisoy vegan chicken or fried tofu slices across one side
- lay down a line or two of sriracha on the vegan meat
- add the pickle mix, jalapenos and cilantro
- top off with a little hoisin sauce
- fold the sandwich together and enjoy!
things to consider
Avoid cramming too many toppings! I admit this is difficult for me not to do, and i still haven’t learned my lesson! If you’ve prepped too much, make an extra sandwich for later or wrap up leftover ingredients for next time. Also, it’s important to get as much moisture out of the pickles as possible. The more you have the pickles made in advance, the more they will absorb the flavor and acidity vinegar chili mixture.