How To Make Bahn Mi
Want to learn how to make bahn mi? The influence of French cuisine in French-colonized Vietnam led to the development of the Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich: meat or other protein, pickled carrots and radish, butter or mayonnaise, cilantro and soy sauce on a crispy French baguette. Your sandwich will be more authentic (and more delicious!) if you make the Vietnamese baguette, pickled daikon and carrot, and mayonnaise yourself, but even if you cheat a little and use store-bought ingredients, you'll have a wonderful bahn mi sandwich.
To make bahn mi, you will need:
For the baguette:
- 1 packet (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
- 1/2 c. + 1 c. warm water (~110 degrees F)
- 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
For the pickled daikon and carrot:
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. white vinegar
- 1/2 c. carrot, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 c. daikon radish, cut into thin strips
For the sandwich:
- butter or mayonnaise
- seasoned pork, tofu or other protein, chilled and sliced thin
- thinly sliced seedless cucumber
- soy sauce
- fresh cilantro sprigs
- pate (optional)
- thin jalapeno strips (optional)
- chili oil or sriracha hot sauce (optional)
How to make bahn mi:
- Combine yeast with 1/2 c. water and let bloom. Combine flour, salt, sugar, yeast mixture and the other 1 c. water in a food processor and blend until the dough forms a ball. Let the dough rise for one hour, then pulse to deflate it; repeat two more times.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Cut into two equal pieces. Form each into an 8-inch by 5-inch rectangle, fold in thirds lengthwise, and roll into a 15-inch baguette. Let raise in a warm place, covered, for half an hour.
- Place a roasting pan with 1 inch of water at the bottom of a 450 degree oven. Cut five diagonal slashes across each loaf and mist with water. Bake for 3 minutes, mist with water again, and repeat. Bake for another 9 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 5 minutes. The steam in the oven, regular misting and rotating will ensure even browning and crispness. Remove the loaves and let them cool.
- Heat 1/2 c. water, 1/4 c. sugar and 1/4 c. vinegar in a small saucepan until the sugar melts. Pour over carrot and daikon and season with salt to taste. Let marinate for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge for the pickled carrot and daikon.
- Cut the baguettes in half to make four sandwiches, then split the baguette halves and hollow out the insides. Spread the bread with mayonnaise, butter or pate. Add slices of Vietnamese-seasoned pork, tofu or other protein, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro sprigs, cucumber slices and about a teaspoon of soy sauce.
- Garnish the bahn mi sandwiches with jalapeno, chili sauce or other spicy condiments. Cut in half and serve.