Tofu Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)

I didn’t know what to expect since it was my first time making banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) and I was actually a little nervous before I took my first bite. Ultimately, it was good! Tasted like a banh mi.

I omitted the jalapeno pepper since I can’t do spicy (but my hubby would have loved that). Next time, I’ll double the amount of the tofu marinade to bring that flavor out more. For the bread, I ended up using Whole Foods’ organic ciabaguette (made from organic whole wheat flour). Beforehand, I had no idea what “ciabaguette” was, but it’s apparently a hybrid between Italian bread and French bread, which basically the difference between those two to begin with is shape.

(Recipe adapted from My Recipes)

1 (14-ounce) package organic sprouted firm tofu, drained
2 tbs tamari
2 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup Premade pickled carrot/daikon with pickled juice OR 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup agave, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 cups matchstick-cut carrot/daikon mix
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 julienne-cut green onion
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (12-ounce) loaf organic French baguette
1/2 cup fresh organic cilantro sprigs
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced (optional)

1. Cut tofu crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Arrange tofu on several layers of paper towels. Top with several more layers of paper towels; top with a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan. Let stand 30 minutes. Remove tofu from paper towels.

2. Combine tamari and ginger in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish. Arrange tofu slices in a single layer in mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning once.

3. Either use the pickled carrot/daikon juice (adding agave to taste) or if none premade, combine vinegar, agave, and salt in a medium bowl. Add carrot, green onion, mushroom, and cucumber; toss well. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain carrot mixture through a sieve; drain thoroughly.

4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove tofu from marinade; discard marinade. Add tofu slices to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden.

5. Preheat broiler.

6. Cut bread in half lengthwise. Open halves, laying bread cut side up on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Place tofu slices on bottom half of bread; top with carrot mixture, cilantro, and jalapeño slices. Top with top half of bread. Cut loaf crosswise into 6 equal pieces.