Monday, May 4, 2009

Banh mi without the bread

...or, A Clash of Cultures


Chill your favourite bottle of Nigori (unfiltered) sake. I'm still working on finding a favourite.

Cut a good-sized, mature (i.e. sweeter) carrot into matchsticks.

Marinate matchsticks in 1/4 cup rice vinegar (subs. sherry vinegar), 2 Tbsp brown sugar, salt, several thin slices of fresh ginger. Dip your finger in it and taste - if you don't like it, tweak. At least 2 hours for marinading. Excellent if overnight. Cut a small cucumber into fatter matchsticks. Wash plenty of cilantro and dry it.

Hack drumsticks and thighs of a chicken into pieces, bones and all, with a serious knife lifted well above the shoulder. Put in very hot (450'F) oven in cast iron pan with 2 sliced garlic cloves, a sliced knob of ginger, a shaking of chile flakes, a Tbsp of sugar, many dashes of soy sauce and a lemon/lime's juice. Stir every now and then to coat evenly with caramelizing sauce and maybe add a dash of water to stop everything from going totally black.

Dip rice wrappers (resembling fibreglass sheets) in a bowl of water and lay on damp clean cloth.

Cut meat from chicken bones. Suck bones.

Put some chicken, some carrot, cucumber and a frill of cilantro on one end of wrapper near you. Fold over short sides, fold over long side and roll away from you.

If it breaks, give up and try another.

If that wrapper breaks, Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird. No. Put all ingredients into a pretty bowl, toss, and eat with chopsticks.

Don't forget the sake.

(Aside: for a picture of the real banh mi I sometimes eat for lunch click here, scroll past the whole long post, all the way to the bottom, and there it is. They cost $5 now.)


  1. not only is this is my very favorite type of meal but i like the idea of the sharp-knife-over-the-head action and have just the right frightening cleaver for the job. hi-ya!

  2. sounds yummy! i like the substitution of the rice wrappers instead of the bread and the hacked chicken instead of the two varieties of pig meat.

  3. And, mark of a really good cook, you sucked the bones.;-)

  4. I've just found time (it's a secret!) to read that link to the Vietnamese sandwich and I read the comments.
    You will have gathered that I come from All Black territory.

  5. I adore you. Seriously. I am amassing Amtrak bonus miles with my monthly commuting, so a NYC vacation is imminent. We absolutely must have breakfast/brunch/lunch/tea/drinks/dinner/SOMETHING.

  6. m. - excellent good sound, I must remember that next time.

    QC - I love the pig meat but so much work. Also my local joint's traditional sandwich with the ham etc makes me very sleepy.

    Dinah, hm, bones, yes, sorry about that. But I'm basically a cave person.
    Does Oz really count as All Black territory? Isn't that blasphemous?

    Jen :-) high praise. Let's do ALL of them. Ok, Ok, too greedy. I eat all those meals (but somehow with bruch one misses out on breakfast and lunch, which is sad)and imbibe, as you know, so you choose when you're in town.


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