Chicken Báhn Mì
by Larry Abney, Red Truck, Truckee, California
Báhn mì is a Vietnamese sandwich traditionally combining fresh cilantro, sweet pickled carrots and daikon radish, jalapeños, and mayonnaise on a crispy baguette.
- 2 shallots, chopped
- ½ jalapeño, chopped
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 pounds boneless skinless Smart Chicken thighs or breasts, sliced into thin strips
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1 small daikon radish, peeled
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise or homemade aioli
- 3 tablespoons sambal oelek*
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
- 1 cucumber, sliced into thin coins
- 1 jalapeño, sliced into thin coins
- 2 baguettes, cut into four long pieces, then in half
*Sambal oelek is an Asian chile paste that adds a touch of heat and a lot of flavor. Look for it in the spice aisle or online.
In a blender, combine shallots, chopped jalapeño, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, and black pepper and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add the chicken; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
In a saucepan, bring sugar, water, salt, and vinegar to a boil. Meanwhile, using a cheese grater or mandolin slicer, shred carrots and daikon. Pour vinegar mixture over carrots and daikon and let sit for 30 minutes to quick pickle. Combine the mayonnaise and sambal oelek and set aside.
On a preheated grill or in a sauté pan, sear the chicken thighs or breasts on both sides until cooked through. Toast bread on the grill or in a toaster oven until warm.
To assemble the sandwich: Spread sambal mayonnaise on both sides of the bread. Place a row of cucumbers on one side of the bread and sliced jalapeños on the other. Top with chicken and pickled carrot and daikon. Garnish with cilantro.