Let your taste buds take you on a culinary adventure to Vietnam with our recipe for a classic, delicious Vietnamese sandwich.
Banh mi is a classic Vietnamese sandwich that is known for the bread, which is light and has a thin crust. The sandwich fixin’s are a mix of French and Vietnamese ingredients – baguettes, pate, and mayonnaise from the French, and ingredients like cilantro, fish sauce, and pickled carrots that are native to Vietnam.
But to us, what banh mi really means is an amazingly delicious sandwich that we just can’t get enough of! If the description above hasn’t made you want some now, then this recipe surely will.
We recently took a culinary adventure through our meal plans to Vietnam, and we tasted many traditional Vietnamese dishes, such as pho, summer rolls, and this week’s banh mi recipe. The best thing about eating like the Vietnamese, though, is that you don’t have to travel all the way to Vietnam to get a taste of their yummy food. (Although, we wouldn’t mind taking a little vacation!) You can make it in the comfort of your own kitchen!
Kelsey: “YUM! Really good! I had leftovers for lunch and my coworkers were extremely jealous as I assembled my sandwich.”
The prep might seem a little heavy, but if you check out our video tutorials below, we promise you that it’s really simple, and well worth the end result.
Classic banh mi usually has some kind of cold cut or pork as the meat filling, but we decided to go with chicken for this recipe. (You can definitely get creative with this sandwich and use grilled pork, tofu, seitan, shrimp . . . whatever you feel like!) While we skip the pate, you can always pick up your favorite pate for that classic banh mi flavor.
Instead, we crank up the flavor by marinating grated carrots and daikon in sweet, tangy, and savory nuoc nam (a classic Vietnamese sauce), and give our sandwich a little twist by spreading Sriracha mayo on the bread. Two amazing sauces all in one sandwich. This recipe just can’t get any better!
Or . . . can it? The whole combination of sweet and tangy carrots and daikon slaw, juicy grilled chicken breast, spicy jalapeno peppers, and fragrant cilantro is what really makes the sandwich the best that it could possibly be. A blend of textures and various flavors that make your taste buds rejoice is what makes good food outstanding.
So do your taste buds (and belly) a favor and enjoy this tasty Vietnamese specialty for your next weeknight meal.
Karissa: “This was wonderful! Such a fresh and light meal. I would definitely make it again as a summer staple.”
For More Smarts
- We love the sharp taste that daikon adds to the dish, but if you just want to keep it really simple, just use carrots. It’ll taste just as good, and you won’t have to worry about using up the daikon. If you have leftover grated veggies, use them in a Shrimp Vermicelli Bowl or Asian Rotisserie Chicken Salad.
- Sauces add a ton of flavor to any meal, and we use two different kinds in this recipe. We’ll be covering sauces in our How to Maximize Flavor series soon, so make sure to check that out to learn all about making meals tasty and flavorful.
- We included both grill and stove top methods for cooking the chicken in our recipe below, so that you can come back to this recipe any time of the year.
- Halving chicken breast and tenderizing it makes for quicker cooking and maximizes flavor. Watch the videos below to see how to do it.
- It’s easy to grate veggies (like daikon and carrots) in a food processor. See it in action with the video below.
How to Halve Chicken Breasts
Learn how to halve chicken breasts to save money and reduce cooking time.
How to Season & Tenderize Proteins with a Fork
Maximize flavor and tenderize proteins with this little trick.
How to Shred Root Veggies in a Food Processor
In this video we show you just how easy it is to grate veggies in your food processor.
For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools
- Chicken breasts - 1 lb
- Daikon radish - 1/2 cup, grated (~1/2 daikon)
- Carrots - 1/2 cup, grated (~1 medium carrot)
- Cilantro - 1/4 bunch, leaves of
- Jalapenos (opt) - 1 to 2, sliced
- Cooking oil - for brushing on pan / grates
- Sandwich rolls - 4 (Or sub 1 country baguette)
- Water - 1/4 cup
- Sugar - 1 Tbsp
- Garlic - 1 clove, minced
- Fish sauce - 1 Tbsp (Red Boat brand has the fewest additives)
- Lime juice - 1 Tbsp
- Hot sauce (opt) - to taste
- Garlic - 1 clove, minced
- Mayo - 1/2 cup
- Lemon juice - 1 tsp
- Sriracha - to taste (~1 tsp is a good heat level)
- Daikon radish / Carrots – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Garlic (for nuoc nam and Sriracha mayo) – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Make nuoc nam – Combine sugar and water and boil (or heat in a microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, until water is bubbling). Mix with remainder of sauce ingredients and season to taste with hot sauce. Adjust taste as needed – use fish sauce for more savory, more lime juice for tartness, more sweetener for sweetness. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Chicken – Halve and place into a baking dish. Cover with half of nuoc nam and then tenderize with a fork. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead).
- Make slaw – Mix remainder of nuoc nam with daikon and carrots.
- Cilantro – Peel off leaves. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Jalapenos (if using) – Slice into thin circles. Remove seeds for less heat.
- Make Sriracha mayo – Mix together minced garlic, Sriracha, mayo, and lemon juice. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Outdoor grill: Preheat grill to 500 degrees to get the grates nice and hot. Brush grill grates with some cooking oil. Sprinkle chicken with some salt and pepper, and add over direct heat. Grill on each side for 3 to 4 minutes with the grill cover closed. Rotate 45 degrees once on each side to get better grill marks.
- Stovetop: Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Brush pan with some cooking oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper over chicken. Place onto heated pan. Grill on both sides for 3 to 4 minutes each. Rotate 45 degrees once on each side to get better grill marks. If the chicken isn’t cooked through, lower heat, and cover with foil until it reaches 165 degrees.
- Let rest for ~10 minutes and then slice.
- Slice open baguettes. Assemble sandwiches by spreading mayo onto bread and then layering cilantro leaves, radish and carrot slaw, jalapenos, and chicken.