In this vegetarian version of the Vietnamese baguette sandwich, we use slices of marinated tofu instead of the traditional pâté. Add crunchy vegetables and a quick, spicy mayonnaise and you’ll never miss the meat. To prepared the daikon and carrot, consider investing in a julienne peeler, a handy rake-like device that makes perfect julienne strips out of firm vegetables.
Lemongrass Tofu Bánh Mì
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh lemongrass (white bulb part only)
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
- 2 tsp. sriracha or other hot pepper sauce
- 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp. sugar
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) plus 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 1 lb. (500 g), extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into slabs 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g) grated daikon radish
- 3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g) grated carrot
- 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 4 Vietnamese-style soft baguette rolls or hoagie buns
- 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 large jalapeño chile, thinly sliced
1. In a mini food processor or using a mortar and pestle, pulse or pound the lemongrass, garlic, sriracha, lime juice and 1 tsp. of the sugar with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper until a paste forms. Add 2 Tbs. of the oil and blend well. Coat the tofu pieces using 3 Tbs. of the lemongrass paste; set aside. Mix together the remaining paste and the mayonnaise and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the daikon, carrot, the remaining 1 tsp. sugar, the rice vinegar and 1/2 tsp. salt. Toss to coat and set aside. In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) oil. Add the tofu and fry until golden-brown and crisp, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
3. Cut open the rolls horizontally, leaving one long side of the bun partially attached. Spread the mayonnaise evenly on the inside of the rolls. Place the tofu on the buns and top with the daikon-carrot salad, cilantro and jalapeños. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Find more simple, healthy meals for every night of the week in our book Weeknight Vegetarian, by Ivy Manning.