April A to Z Blog Challenge is at its final stretch. Yay! We are at Letter V. The theme was relatively easy for me since my family lives for variety. Same cuisine can not be repeated two days in a row, no frozen or canned food, not even leftovers are acceptable on the family table. Sigh!! my family does keep me on my toes. Like I mentioned earlier, they are my true critics and I appreciate a good challenge otherwise life would be blah.
Variety is the Spice of Life!!
After getting a small taste of Bahn Mi at Hawkers Restaurant and La Viet Bistro, I had been itching to accomplish the same in my kitchen. I totally fell in love with the combination: grilled marinated meat, crunchy and spicy pickled vegetables; leaving my palate with a lingering refreshing taste.
While grocery shopping for the dinner ingredients, at the store check out line, this sweet elderly lady glanced at my shopping basket and exclaimed ‘ I see someone is making exotic food!’ I humbly smiled and explained that I was merely getting ingredients for making Bahn Mi – Vietnamese sandwich.
Keeping up with the motto “Variety is the Spice of Life”, I brought of a mélange of South Eastern Asian Flavors to our table for dinner.
Banh Mi – Vietnamese Style Baguette Sandwich filled with thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro, chili peppers, mayonnaise and various meat fillings or tofu for vegetarians. The pickled vegetables cuts the fat of the protein and introduces a nice crunchy texture to the tender meat.
Beef Bulgogi – A Korean dish that usually consists of marinated barbecued beef, although chicken or pork may also be used. I chose Beef Bulgogi as the choice of meat filler for my Vietnamese Sandwich.
Side Dish – Thai chilled noodle salad.
Pickled Daikon, Carrot, and Cucumber
- 2 to 3 large carrots, peeled and julienned
- 1 small daikon, peeled, halved lengthwise, and julienned
- 1 English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-by-2-inch-long slices
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1 or 2 Thai or Habenero chilies, thinly sliced
- In a bowl, toss the carrots, daikon, and cucumber with the salt. Let stand for 1 hour. Drain, squeezing the vegetables to get rid of their excess water. Put the vegetables in a resealable plastic bag.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and rice vinegar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the vegetables, along with the chili(es) (if using). Seal the bag, squeezing any air out. Let stand for 1-2 hours.
Bulugogi Meat (Beef or Pork):
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled ad chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 pounds sirloin, rib-eye or skirt steak or pork shoulder
- Puree scallions, garlic, sugar, pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil in the blender until smooth. Marinate the meat with the sauce for 2 hours.
- Remove the meat from the marinade, and grill until browned outside but still medium-rare inside; do not overcook.
- Slice the cooked meat as thinly as possible against the grain.
Bahn Mi Sandwiches
- Pickled Vegetables
- Bulugogi Beef or Pork
- French Demi Baguette – 4
- Bibb or Romaine Lettuce Leaves
- Slice the baguette in half and generously spread mayonnaise on both sides of the bread.
- Layer lettuce, meat, pickled vegetables, and cilantro.
- Serve fresh. Enjoy!!