I love a good banh mi sandwich. And there are plenty of places to get one in Philadelphia. Each, I enjoy for different reasons, and each I’ve taken away elements for designing my own.
The key to a memorable vegetarian version isn’t complicated. You need flavorful tofu — i.e., a marinade before it hits the pan. A sauce or spread to lather the bun. And quality, crusty bread. Pickled veggies are an essential, too, but that can go pretty much unsaid.
I’ve given my best attempt to take all of this and wrap it into my own tofu banh mi recipe. It’s fun and incredibly easy to make your own picked daikon, and I’d recommend giving it a try. Feel free to throw some other veggies into the brine, too, like jalapeños or carrots. Also, be generous with the curry mayo spread on your bread. It’ll add that hint of creaminess that goes so well with the fresh veg.
- 3 crusty lg. French bread rolls
- 1 (14oz) pkg. extra firm tofu, drained and gently squeezed
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced cabbage
- 2 med. carrots, shaved
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/3 cup Pickled Daikon Radishes (see recipe below)
- 1/2 cup mayo or Vegenaise
- 3 tsp. red curry paste, or to taste
- Sriracha, optional
- For the tofu marinade:
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. ginger, minced
- 1-2 tsp. Sriracha
- Whisk tofu marinade ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl. Cut tofu lengthwise into 8 slices. Place tofu in the bowl and coat with marinade. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the veggie ingredients. In a small bowl, mix curry paste into the mayo/Vegenaise.
- When tofu is ready to cook, heat a grill pan over medium-high. Spread tofu across the pan in a single layer. Drizzle with any remaining marinade from the bowl. Let the tofu cook for 5-10 minutes, and then flip, until golden on each side. Use your spatula to firmly press down on the tofu from time to time to release some of its excess water.
- Heat bread in the oven until warm. When tofu is crispy on the edges, remove from heat. Spread a generous layer of the curry mayo on to each side of the bread. Place two slices of tofu per roll on top. Sprinkle remaining ingredients on top. Serve with a side of Sriracha, if desired.
Slightly adapted from Momofuku
- 1 cup very hot tap water
- 1/2 cup rice-wine vinegar
- 6 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. mustard seeds
- 2 lbs daikon radish, chopped into matchstick
- Pack radishes into a large, 24oz. ball jar. Cover with brine, close lid, and refrigerate. They'll be ready in four days. Most will keep for up to a month.