Lemongrass Chicken Delight: A Vietnamese Sandwich Experience

August 3, 2023

Reveling in the Awe of a Banh Mi Sandwich

Dive into the lemongrass chicken delight known as Banh Mi, a stimulating culinary expedition. While flavorful pho often tempts me at Vietnamese eateries, indulging in these crafted sandwiches unfolds a unique flavor odyssey. Among all the culinary creations on a bustling day, these sandwiches disappeared the fastest, imprinting an unforgettable taste in our memories.

Delving into Banh Mi’s Roots

At its core, “Banh Mi” stands for bread in Vietnamese. Still, the term also captures the essence of a sandwich overflowing with a blend of a Vietnamese baguette, delectable proteins, and an ensemble of both pickled and fresh veggies. The baguette’s history traces back to the French influence in Vietnam during the 19th century. Over time, the streets of Saigon embraced this sandwich, which soon found admirers across the globe, especially in places with a dense Vietnamese immigrant population.

Anatomy of an Authentic Banh Mi

The foundation of a Banh Mi lies in its crispy baguette, pickled veggies like julienned carrots and daikon radish, refreshing cilantro, spicy slices of jalapeño or chili, and a choice of protein. Some variants also feature creamy mayonnaise and crunchy cucumber slices. This recipe adds a tantalizing twist with Sriracha mayo, perfectly complementing the sandwich’s layered flavors. For those who have a penchant for grilled proteins, you’re in for a treat! The smoky essence merges seamlessly with the tangy vegetables and spices, creating a harmonious taste. And while chicken is the star today, this marinade sings with beef or pork, offering versatility in choices.

Ingredients for a Culinary Masterpiece

For the Zesty Carrot & Daikon Salad:

  • 2 crisp medium carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup refreshing daikon radish, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons sweet sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt for balance
  • 3 tablespoons tangy rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons aromatic sesame oil

For the Succulent Chicken & Its Marinade:

  • 4 tablespoons wholesome vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons umami-rich fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon savory oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fiery red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar for a touch of sweetness
  • 2 fragrant shallots, peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, for depth
  • 2 stalks zesty lemongrass, segmented
  • 2 teaspoons refreshing lime zest
  • 1 1/2 pounds juicy boneless, skinless chicken thighs

To Craft the Perfect Sandwich:

  • 1/4 cup smooth mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons spicy Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon zesty lime juice
  • 1 crusty baguette, divided into 4, halved
  • 1 fiery jalapeño, thinly sliced post de-seeding
  • 1 cup fragrant cilantro

Step-by-Step Creation of a Sensation

  1. Dive into crafting the salad by blending carrots and daikon. Mix them with sugar, salt, vinegar, and sesame oil. Allow this concoction to mingle for an hour, stirring at intervals.
  2. Direct your attention to the chicken. In your trusted food processor, blend 2 tablespoons oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, pepper flakes, sugar, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and lime zest. Once you achieve a smooth texture, pour it over the chicken, ensuring each piece is bathed in this marinade. Let this rest in your fridge, allowing the flavors to marry for 1-4 hours.
  3. Ignite the heat and add the remaining oil in a skillet. With anticipation, sear the marinated chicken, ensuring it turns golden on each side and is thoroughly cooked. Let the chicken rest and absorb the surroundings.
  4. The final lap is assembling this edible art. Blend mayonnaise, Sriracha, and lime juice for a creamy spread. Slather this on your baguette, followed by the pickled veggies. Add slices of your perfectly cooked chicken, jalapeños, and garnish with cilantro. Dive into a journey of flavors with each bite!

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