Project Banh Mi

I usually like cooking things from scratch, like tofu and bread. Definitely not a very time-efficient thing to do, but I learn a lot in the process, it’s fun to spend time in the kitchen talking to my roommates or listening to music or podcasts.

Anyway, I came across the following book:

So I decided to make Banh Mis from scratch, as much as possible. If you don’t know what a Banh Mi is, you’re missing out. Banh Mi is a vietnamese street food, a sandwich that combines pickled vegetables, a protein, cucumbers, mayo, soy sauce (or Maggi), cilantro and jalapeños. It’s amazing.

First step was to make the pickles, so they stay in the brine for a while, becoming more delicious over time. I made the traditional daikon and carrots:

They are delicious but also smell a bit bad after a few days. Warn your spouse/roommates/family if you make them.

Then I made fresh tofu, for a vegetarian version of the sandwich:

Although they look bad, they still tasted really good. I screwed up on the amount of gypsum this time, so it didn’t hold well together, crumbling while cutting.

Oh well.

I made some slow roasted pork shoulder as well. Although not the traditionally grilled pork for the banh mi, this pork shoulder recipe for korean tacos is just too awesome to let it pass.

Meanwhile the pork was in the oven, I started working on the bread:

As you can see, my shaping and scoring skills are awful, and I let it rise for too long (waiting for the pork shoulders and also to do some errands), so it became a bit flat. Nevertheless, the bread interior is perfect and the flavor, amazing. It looks nothing like a french baguette, but it tastes exactly brazilian “pão francês”, which was a very good surprise! I took a piece to eat with butter to feel the taste of home.

Now, assembling all the Banh Mi components. I cheated on the mayo and used store bought, but I was tired and hungry, and I forgot to buy jalapeños. What a novice mistake.

Final verdict: buy the book! It’s pretty good, cheap and there’s tons of other interesting recipes. I loved the bread recipe and the pickles. I haven’t tried the others yet, but looking forward to.

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