Five-Spice Banh Mi
Adapted from Mai Pham’s Bon Appetit December 2005 recipe
The bread used in Banh Mi is extremely important. If you don’t have a Vietnamese baker in your town (or city for that matter), I recommend finding the best French style baguette you can. The texture you want is crispy crust and fluffy interior. For great Vietnamese bakery suggestions, go to Battle of the Banh Mi for details. If you live in Hollywood and don’t want to drive down town, I’d recommend getting your baguette from the Bread Bar.
Though there’s a lot to do, this recipe is relatively easy if you stay organized.
Marinated daikon and carrots
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup distilled white vinegar
¼ teaspoon (rounded) salt
3 cups daikon—cut into matchstick-size pieces
3 cups carrot—cut into matchstick-size pieces
Five spice Marinated Chicken
1/4 cup soy sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons five spice powder
6 large skinless boneless chicken thighs**
**I bought chicken breast and thighs from Whole Foods and took the skin off myself. I de-boned the breast and cooked the thighs off with the bone in.
Spicy Lime Mayonnaise
¼ cup favorite mayon
juice of one lime
Sriracha hot sauce (to taste) 1-3 teaspoons should do it!
6 6-inch baguettes, cut down the center (don’t cut all the way through)
1 English hothouse cucumber (or two Persian cucumbers), cut into ¼ inch thick slices
½ of one small red onion, cut in half through the stem, thinly sliced. Rinsed and drained.
12 fresh cilantro sprigs
2 jalapeno chilies, thinly sliced crosswise
For Spicy Lime Mayonnaise:
Squeeze the juice of one lime into mayo. Add Sriracha one teaspoon at a time. Stop with preferred spiciness is achieved. Have nearby with other sandwich mise-en-place.
For marinated chicken:
Mix first 8 ingredients of chicken marinade together and put into a 13x9x2 inch-baking dish. Add chicken; turn to coat. Let marinade at room temperature for 1 hour. Turn often.
Preheat Broiler. Cook chicken approx. 6-minutes per side. Check that meat isn’t pink inside before removing from heat. Transfer to plate; tent with foil to keep the meat warm. When ready to serve, slice.
Grill the bread until just toasted. Spread spicy mayonnaise on bottom half of baguette. Top with cucumber slices. Fill sandwich with the meat of one chicken thigh (or breast, if that’s what you have), drained daikon and carrot, onion slices and cilantro sprigs. Sprinkle with jalapeno slices and ground black pepper. Serve with cucumber and fennel salad.
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