I am back! And by back, I mean back in the kitchen with enthusiasm about it again. I have more time on my hands, there are more spring vegetables trickling into the markets and I am finally enjoying making more food at home.
It feels good; cooking is fun!
This last weekend I made green veggie enchiladas, good, healthy breakfasts and grilled chicken on my new Green Egg to have around to make more meals with. It easily puts me in a good mood when I make healthy and delicious meals.
I have even had a couple of friend over for dinner in the last few weeks and one of my dinners was a great success. I ventured out into new territory and made bahn mi sandwiches. Though these Vietnamese sandwiches are somewhat of a foodie fad right now, no one besides me had ever tried one. I am in love with them and happy now to have a method for making them on my own.
I had one last time I was in Charleston at a trendy new place there. Aspen Market serves a good one on their hot sandwich menu. And, most recently, I had one at a spa in Texas. I went there with my family and ordered it off the lunch menu the first day. It was so good I ate the same sandwich every day during my entire stay there.
The prepared it simply, with a lot of fresh jalapeños and cilantro on top of the chicken. I didn’t realize until I had it off a more diet-conscious menu that it is a rather healthy sandwich but it naturally is.
A typical bahn mi can contain any kind of spiced and grilled meat on a baguette. What makes it a bahn mi a bahn mi is the pile of cilantro, pickled veggies and a Vietnamese sauce you put on top of the meat and bread. Some preparations offer fish sauce, hot sauce or rice vinegar as toppings but the version I made called for a creamer, spicier version that adds to the dish.
Making the dish was basically just prep work. Marinate and grill chicken breasts. Peel, slice and quickly pickle some veggies in a rice vinegar dressing and mix together the simple sauce.
Because this sandwich is made more by tastes than by recipe, I have provided instructions for preparing it rather than a strict recipe. You can feel free to adjust anything in it from the meat filling to the veggies I choice. Make the sauce spicier if you prefer or creamier with more mayonnaise if you can’t handle spice.
Hate cilantro? Try basil or mint in its place. I used a baguette but it would work on a brioche roll too or even, in a wrap or pita.
Chicken Bahn Mi Instructions
- Mayonnaise (about a cup)
- Lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- Sriracha (about 1/4th a cup)
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Taste and adjust the lime/spice ratio to your desire.
Marinate the chicken in a mixture of olive oil, lime juice and seasoning. I added fresh jalapeño, salt, pepper and kafir lime leaves. Let sit for about 30 minutes or longer then grill. Slice thinly when it has cooled.
Quick pickled veggies:
Add to a bowl 2 thinly sliced jalapeños, one thinly sliced English cucumber, and about a cup of shredded carrots. Cover in rice vinegar and a small amount of sesame oil and let sit, covered, for about an hour.
Peel the leaves off a bunch of cilantro.
To make the sandwich:
Slice open a crusty baguette loaf. Spread a generous layer of the sauce onto both sides of the bread. Place the chicken on the bottom layer of the bread. Top with the pickled veggies and a generous amount of cilantro.