vietnamese chicken sandwich (bánh mì)

Our recent visit to the Golborne and Portobello food stalls has got us so excited about London’s street-side grub we’re already planning our next outing, and if all goes to plan we’ll be hitting Whitecross Street Food Market tomorrow. We’ve also set our sights on Borough, Broadway, Exmouth and Greenwich Markets, as well as Brick Lane where I heard there’s a pretty good Bánh Mì (Vietnamese baguette sandwich) stall. Obviously it’s going take us a while to eat our way across London, so to tide us over I thought I’d recreate some street fare at home. I found a Chicken Bánh Mì recipe on epicurious that looked promising, so decided to give it a go. It was relatively easy to put together and came out well – the five-spiced chicken set off nicely by the sharp pickles. Not being a massive fan of coriander and raw onions I left those out, and replaced the sliced chilli with a smidgen of green chilli paste (it’s powerful stuff!) B’s mum had brought over for us from Mauritius. Probably not as good as the ones found along the streets of Saigon, but still a mighty satisfying lunch for two.

Vietnamese Chicken Sandwiches (Bánh Mì)
(adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe)
serves 2 generously

pickled vegetables:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
pinch of salt
1 cup carrot, julienned
1 cup daikon, julienned

3 skinless chicken thigh fillets
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp five-spice powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 star anise
vegetable oil

to serve:
1 baguette
mayonnaise
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
1 green chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
fresh coriander, roughly chopped (optional)

Combine the rice vinegar, sugar (1/4 cup) and salt and stir until dissolved. Marinate the carrots and daikon in the liquid for 2-3 hours, then drain and keep refrigerated until needed (the pickled vegetables will keep, covered and chilled, for up to 5 days.

In a large bowl mix the shallot, garlic, star anise, five-spice, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and remaining sugar with the the chicken thighs. Toss to coat well, then leave to marinate for at least an hour (at room temperature), or overnight (in the fridge).

Heat an oiled griddle pan on a medium heat and grill the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through. If the meat starts to burn (the sugar in the marinade will inevitably cause it to char) then turn your heat down a touch. Remove from heat and leave to rest for a minute, then slice into 2cm wide strips.

While the chicken is cooking warm your bread in the oven. Slice the baguette in half, then split it again lengthwise.

When you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, open up the baguette and spread liberally with mayonnaise. Top the bottom halves of bread with chicken slices, followed by a large handful of pickled vegetables and shredded cucumber. Scatter over the red onion, sliced chilli and coriander if desired.

Pop on the top of the baguette, squeeze firmly together with your fingers and eat immediately.

~ by gourmettraveller on January 28, 2010.

7 Responses to “vietnamese chicken sandwich (bánh mì)”

  1. This is my favorite sandwich!

  2. well done!! banh mi is so versatile–we love chicken with lemongrass or pork with lemongrass (thit nuong)

  3. I can’t wait to try this!! I love these sandwiches. They are pretty healthy and low fat too. Thanks for the post. DZ

  4. That’s a great sandwich and an eye-popping photo, GT. I had a similar sandwich one time in Hawaii, and loved it to bits. Thanks!

  5. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it and it was the best thing ever. Probably one of the best things I have created at home and to be honest we have been cooking our way through some Rick Bayless so we have good food in our home. My husband would not stop raving about them. I want to make them again now. They were phenomenal. I love your take on their recipe so much. I have been waiting to use five spice forever and the chicken thighs were awesome with it. Thank you so much for sharing. This is a keeper for us for sure.

    • Thrilled that the recipe came out great and that you both loved it! It really is such a wonderful combination of flavours…hearing you rave about it is making me want one right now myself!! Will have to check out your blog, wouldn’t mind trying out some Bayless recipes myself, although being in the UK a lot of the ingredients are unfortunately hard to get hold of…

  6. What a sandwich! Fortunately in michigan we have a cluster of Vietnamese restaurants that sell the pork version of this sandwich for 2.50. I’m off to get some.

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