Tofu Banh Mi (Vietnamese for Delicious Sandwich)

2 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

I’m not sure that my translation is accurate, but one thing I know is, dang y’all, this is one good sandwich. The first time I tried Banh Mi, I made it with pulled pork (without sauce) from a BBQ place in Columbia, SC. I have been hooked ever since, but I was hoping to make a knock out vegetarian version too. This is a perfect dish to make now, since it requires both carrots and daikon (a Japanese radish) that can both be found at your farmers market. Maybe make some sweet potato fries on the side and you’ve got yourself a sustainable meal you can be proud to serve for lunch or dinner. Speaking of sweet potatoes, have you seen these?

Fingerling sweet potatoes! I love them!

Yet I  digress…Banh Mi. This is a traditional Vietnamese baguette that is transformed into a cheap, street food when you add meat, vegetables, spicy mayo, and cilantro. The Green Gourmets came up with our own version using leftover French baguette. Get all of these ingredients ready, because you are going to want seconds!


  • 1 medium carrot shredded
  • 1 small daikon shredded
  • Splash of rice wine vinegar
  • Small jalapeno, sliced
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 baguette
  • Mayo (I use vegenaise)
  • Sriracha
  • Salt, pepper to taste


Using a grater or food processor, shred your daikon and carrot into a bowl.

Splash a bit of rice wine vinegar on top, stir, and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.

Drain your tofu for at least one hour. To drain, I make a layer of  paper towels, tofu, paper towels, and a heavy plate or bowl resting on top to press the water out. Check at 30 minutes and add new paper towels. Cut your tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Set up a breading station with a bowl of seasoned flour (1 c flour with salt and pepper), a bowl of 1 egg whisked, and a bowl of 1 Panko bread crumbs.

Heat about 2 TB vegetable oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Dredge each tofu slice in the flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixture and add to the pan. Note: This recipe will make 8-10 pieces of pan fried tofu , which you can also just dip straight into your favorite sauce (hmmm…honey mustard). Good vegetarian substitute for chicken fingers!

Cook in batches over medium heat until tofu becomes brown on the outside and completely heated through, about 1-2 minutes per side. You may need to add more oil so that the bottom of the pan does not become try (this will cause the tofu to burn).

Make your spicy sauce by combining vegenaise (or mayonnaise) with sriracha to taste in a small bowl.

Slice your baguette in half along the side, but not all the way through.

Smear your bread with your spicy sauce and add your pan fried tofu.

Add a good scoop of your carrot/daikon slaw and more than a few sprigs of cilantro. At the point, you also may want to add sliced jalapenos (if you like heat). I also put some roasted red peppers and lettuce on mine, because…why not? Drizzle the whole sandwich with soy sauce. Demolish.

Hope you enjoy this vegetarian street food, and don’t forget you read it on Green Gourmets! To print this recipe, click here.


2 Responses to “Tofu Banh Mi (Vietnamese for Delicious Sandwich)”

  1. Mam February 2, 2011 at 9:01 AM #

    Looks great- someone in this house will be trying out this recipe!

  2. Barbara Nunn February 2, 2011 at 12:30 PM #

    Oh Honey!! This looks yummy!

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