Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vegan Banh Mi Sandwiches

Banh Mi with homemade grilled  'pork' patty and Cilantro Lime Aioli
Banh Mi with Candied Smoked Ham and Dijon Mustard
I haven't been cooking lately because the weather is too hot.  However, a post from Bryanna at Vegan Feast Kitchen blog about  Vegan Spinach "Chicken" Patties (Open to Experimentation) prompted me to a new experiment with her recipe.  I made it Asian style in my experiment and it became Vegan Cilantro Roasted Lemongrass "Pork" Patties instead of "Chicken" patties.  I used the patties in Vietnamese Bánh mì with homemade Vegan Cilantro Lime Aioli and topped with traditional Bánh mì toppings(pictured above).  I grilled the patties on a cast iron skillet thus it became Vegan Grilled "Pork" Patties Bánh mì.

I just want to warn everyone that this recipe is very cilantro-ey.  Some people don't really like cilantro or coriander leaves.  I love them.  A lot of Vietnamese dishes use a lot of cilantro.   If you don't like cilantro you may stick with spinach or parsley.

I also did another experiment to make Candied Vegan "Ham" or "Bacon" using Chinese Style Vegan Smoked Ham I bought in Asian market.  I also served the Candied "Ham" in Bánh mì with dijon mustard and topped with traditional Bánh mì toppings(pictured above, too).

The traditional Bánh mì toppings are fresh cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno slices and pickled shredded daikon and carrots.

Ingredients of bánh mì  toppings are: cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots.
Bánh mì Ingredients:
Pickled Shredded Daikon Radish and Carrots, recipe below
Jalapeno slices
Fresh Cilantro
Cucumber Slices
Cilantro Lime Aioli Sauce(recipe below) or Dijon Mustard
Vegan Cilantro Roasted Lemongrass "Pork" Patties, recipe below or
Vegan Candied Smoked "Ham", recipe below
Vietnamese Baguette(Banh Mi Tay), store bought or homemade(pictured below)
(I have tried made it myself using this recipe)

Homemade baguette
1 large daikon radish, peeled
4 carrots, peeled
4 Tbsp vinegar, divided
2 tsp salt, divided
4-6 tsp sugar, divided

  1. Using a food processor, shred radish and carrots separately. 
  2. In 2 bowls, 1 for radish and 1 for carrots, pile shredded radish and carrots, separately.
  3. For each bowl, add 1 tsp salt and 2-3 tsp sugar (add more to make it sweeter).  Rub the shredded radish or carrots with salt and sugar, mix well,
  4. Add 2 Tbsp vinegar in each bowl.  Mix and let the radish and carrots macerated in room temperature or fridge.

Cilantro Lime Aioli Sauce
Yield 1.5 cups
This sauce is great with a lot of things.  I have served it with 'fish' tacos, sandwiches, and use it as a dip for tortilla chips.

2 cups packed fresh cilantro including stems (cleaned and dried in a towel)
1 large jalapeno, chop in large pieces
2 large cloves garlic
4 large green onions
juice of 1 lime (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
2 Tbsp. oil (optional)
Vegan Mayonnaise, store bought or check out Bryanna's recipe

  1. Put all ingredients above except the mayonnaise and blend until smooth.
  2. I store the Cilantro Lime mixture and the mayonnaise separately.  Just before serving, I combine equal parts of cilantro lime mixture and mayonnaise until well blended.
Cilantro Lime Sauce before it is combined with vegan mayo

Vegan Cilantro Roasted Lemongrass "Pork" Patties
Yield 12 oval patties

2 6-inch fresh lemongrass (white part only), chopped in large pieces
2 large shallots, chopped in large pieces (about 2/3 cup altogether)
4 large cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. oil

2 large green onions
2 cups packed fresh cilantro including stems (cleaned and dried in a towel)
1 Tbsp. no beef broth paste
1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 cups plain textured soy protein granules (TVP) or crumbs from bottom of Soy Curls bag
1 lb. medium-firm tofu, drained
1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (gluten powder)
1 Tbsp. mushroom powder
  Note:  This is ground dried shiitake mushroom (grind until powdery smooth in a spice grinder)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic granules
1 tsp. ground white pepper
  Note:  a lot of Vietnamese dishes use ground white pepper as seasoning.
2 Tbsp. 'fish' sauce  or Braggs Liquid Aminos

  1. Start with a dry food processor, grind chopped lemongrass into a fine fibrous pulps.  This may take 1-2 minutes.  Add chopped shallots and garlic cloves.  Process some more until it become a fibrous spice paste.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or on a cast iron pan, saute the spice paste on a medium heat.  Stir fry for literally 10-15 minutes until the herb paste brown and roasted.  Stir the paste frequently.  When it becomes loose, brown, dry, and fluffy, turn off the heat and let it cool.  (See the same method in making Lemongrass Tofu).
  3. While stir frying the lemongrass in step 2, mix the no beef broth paste with boiling water.  Add to the TVP and let sit 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  
  5. Using the same food processor (you don't need to wash), grind fresh cilantro and green onions.
  6.  Mash the drained tofu (squeeze out excess water) and mix well with the soaked TVP(squeeze out excess water), cilantro and green onion mixture, cool roasted lemongrass shallots mixture and the remaining ingredients, except the gluten flour.  Mix thoroughly.
  7. Add the gluten flour and mix well again.
  8. Scoop up some of the "dough' and roll into a ball, then press down into a patty on a piece of baking parchment or silpat.  I made it oval shapes because I am serving it in a baguette.  There will be about 12-13 patties.
  9. Place the patties on parchment-lined or silpat-lined baking sheets, cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.  The patties will be soft when they come out of the oven.  Let them cool on baking sheets.  Cool or chill thoroughly in the fridge.  They will firm up as they cool.  Store in a container with parchment in between the patties and refrigerate  or freeze for future use.
  10. When ready to serve, grill or brown them on both sides and medium heat on a oiled cast iron skillet.
Vegan Candied Smoked "Ham"
Using a loaf of store bought smoked vegan ham.  I frequently perused Asian market in search of Smoked Vegan Ham.  I often found one or two that is vegan.  The one I purchased was VegeFarm brand.

Store bought vegan ham
Vegetable oil
Maple syrup

  1. Slice thawed vegan ham vertically and about 1/4-inch thick.
  2. On a cast iron skillet, heat a tablespoon oil, pan fry a few ham slices until golden brown.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup.  Let syrup bubbles up and coats the ham slices.
  4. Keep frying until syrup reduced and ham slices turned to roasted brown (see picture below)
Candied Smoked Vegan Ham

Assembling Bánh mì:

  1. Cut about 6-8 inches of baguette and slice in half horizontally, almost all the way through but not quite.
  2. Slather with Cilantro Lime Aoli for making Grilled "Pork"  sandwich or with Dijon Mustard for the Candied "Ham" sandwich.
  3. Add Grilled "Pork" Patties or Candied Smoked "Ham" slices, top with pickled shredded daikon radish and carrots, jalapeno slices, cucumber slices, and more cilantro.
Assembling Grilled "Pork" Patties Banh Mi with Cilantro Lime Aioli
Assembling Candied Smoked "Ham" Banh Mi with Dijon Mustard
The details in Grilled "Pork" Banh Mi with all the toppings and aioli