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From Mexican tortas to bratwurst and kraut in a bun, cultures around the globe have their own claim-to-fame sandwiches. I dream of the Vietnamese bánh mì, a sandwich that delivers a riot of flavor and a perfect mix of textures and tastes: crackly bread, fresh pickled vegetables and herbs, a savory meat and a substantial kick of spice. The sandwiches are increasingly easy to find in restaurants and food trailers and are easy to make at home.
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water
1 hothouse cucumber, julienned
4–6 ounces radishes (daikon, watermelon or mixed varieties), peeled and julienned
4–6 ounces carrots, peeled and julienned
Baguette or French roll
Cooked and sliced steak, chicken, pork, sliced ham or tofu
Thinly sliced jalapeño peppers and cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Sriracha, for garnish
1. Pickled Vegetables: In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic and water, and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add vegetables and mix well. Let stand 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. To add to a sandwich, remove your desired portion of vegetables from the marinade and drain.
2. Sandwich Fixin’s: Slice baguette or roll in half lengthwise, and use your fingers to hollow out the middle of each half, making troughs. Toast the bread if desired, then allow to cool. Spread a generous amount of mayonnaise on bottom half of bread, then drizzle with soy sauce. Top with a desired protein and pickled vegetables, and garnish with jalapeños, cilantro and Sriracha, as desired. Close the sandwich and serve.
The pickled vegetables will keep up to two weeks in the fridge. Sriracha is a popular hot sauce in Thailand and Vietnam made from chile peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt.