I hope you’re ready for a colourful taste sensation because here it comes in the form of a stuffed baguette. Inspired by Vietnam, which I must admit I’ve never been to, I’m bringing you my take on a bánh mì. Not just any bánh mì but a tofu bánh mì with a spicy cashew mayonnaise. To go with the smokey, salty, sweet marinated tofu and the sriracha mayo I made a take on the traditional bánh mì pickle and loaded the baguette up with all the yummy green things; lettuce, cucumber, coriander and of course spring onion.
It’s a dream of mine to travel around Vietnam and train (and bus) it from there to Thailand through Cambodia. Rob is a little more skeptical but to me it just sounds like a fabolous (-ly sweaty) adventure. Have you heard of the route before, maybe you are as much of a fan as me of the man in seat 61? If not hop on over there and dream away. In my humble opinion trains are a fantastic means of transport. There’s the environmental positives and then there’s the view. My favourite part of any train is the windows that allow you to see the landscape change in a speed that feels more or less true to nature. Flying is great but I’ll always feel a little dizzied by the fact that I just travelled a quarter around the earth in one day.
Enough about my love of trains and dreams of travel now. Since I’m not in Vietnam and can try the local goods I just made them for myself at home. In my way. And now you can too, if you want of course. The recipe is simple and perfect for picnics. Gotta love a good picnic sandwich. Rob thinks this meal is the best thing since sliced bread and I tend to agree. As you know I have a soft spot for bread, a little due to the fact that I’m not supposed to eat too much of it. For this I do though and unless you’re really sensitive or allergic to gluten or know of an awesome gluten-free baguette I’d go for the real deal here. Except I didn’t really, haha. I got the tastiest looking baguettes I could find in my super market, a wheaty and slightly chewy sourdough baguette which was great. If you really want to stay true to tradition though you need to find a very white and crisp French baguette.
I wish you all the best of luck in the search of the best bread for your tofu bánh mì and happy times in the kitchen. Enjoy! x
POLENTA PIZZA W/ TOFU ALMOND CHEESE AND GRILLED OYSTER MUSHROOM + COURGETTE
YIELDS: 2-4 servings / TIME: 40 min (+ quick pickle and tofu marinading over night)
270 g block of firm tofu, excess water pressed out and cut into 8 slices
1/3 cup soya sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp molasses, optional
1 tbsp liquid smoke
2 tsp sriracha sauce
Black pepper, to taste
Radish + carrot pickle:
1 1/4 cup carrot, julienned
3/4 cup radish, sliced
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup warm water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
8 pepper corns
1/2 tsp salt
Sriracha cashew mayo:
1 cup cashews, soaked over night or for 30 min in hot water
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1medium sized lemon, juice only
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp ground mustard, optional but ideal
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup water, or more to reach prefered consistency
2 baguettes, gluten free if required
1/3 cucumber, mandolined into ribbons or sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
A handful of fresh coriander
4 handfuls of your favourite lettuce or green leaves
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl. Then immerse the tofu in the sauce making sure it’s all or mainly covered and then covering it with a plate and a small weight (like a jam jar) to make sure the tofu stays covered. Set aside in the fridge over night or at least an hour before cooking.
When you are ready to cook it, I suggest it being the last thing you do before assembling your baguette, heat a griddle or frying pan to medium heat. Lightly oil the pan, if needed, using a paper towel to prevent sticking. Grill/fry your tofu for 3-4 minutes on the first side and roughly 2 on the other.
The radish + carrot quick pickle:
Mix all the wet ingredients as well as pepper corns, salt and garlic in a jar. When the sweetener is dissolved add your vegetables to the jar and leave in the fridge over night or at least one hour before assembling the baguette.
The sriracha cashew mayo:
Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning to suit your preference.
Assembling your Vietnamese baguette:
I like to toast my baguette slightly in the oven if it’s not fresh from the baker, but this is totally optional. Then cut the baguette in half and then slice it open but not all the way through.
Slather some cashew mayo on both sides and layer the green leaves, cucumber ribbons, pickled radish and carrot, tofu and top it all off with spring onion and fresh coriander.