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Drum rolls please - let's talk about the Bánh Mì sandwich!

Recently Banh Mi has been THE trendy food, everybody is creating this dish, putting their own twists and spins on it. And there is no such thing as a bad Banh Mi as "Banh Mi" literally translates to ''baguette'' so as long as it is in a crispy bun, you can add your favourite fillings to your heart's content.

Having said that, an authentic Banh Mi does have its rules! First, the Vietnamese baguette is inspired by a French baguette but has a much thinner and crispier outer layer, and fluffy white insides. If you cannot get hold of this special bread, then a French baguette is the perfect substitute. Second, there are certain layers of flavours that makes the perfect Banh Mi: pâté + butter + mayonnaise + coriander + chillies + cucumber + pickled carrots and parsnips + the main protein of choice.

Sounds complicated? Nope! We have the perfect Banh Mi recipe that does not skip over any component yet still keeping intact the perfect balance of flavours that make a true Banh Mi. What's more - it is completely Vegan and will take you less than 30 minutes!

INGREDIENTS

For the pâté:

3 cloves of garlic

Half an onion

150g of mushroom

1/2 cup of walnuts

Olive oil

For the BBQ vegetables:

1 aubergine

150g of shiitake mushroom (or any type of mushroom of choice)

1 stalk of lemongrass

Half an onion

3 cloves of garlic

Handful of coriander and spring onions/ chives

3 tbsp of light soy sauce

2 tbsp of dark soy sauce (optional)

1 tbsp of maple syrup (or brown sugar)

1/2 tbsp of liquid smoke (optional)

Olive oil

For the toppings:

Pickled carrots and parsnips (or any pickled veg of choice)

Fresh chillies (or jalapenos)

Vegan mayonnaise (we added a bit of sriracha into ours)

Fresh coriander

Cucumber (cut into strips)

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METHOD

1. Prepare the pate: 

Peel and roughly chop the garlic and onions.

Wash and roughly chop the mushrooms.

On a medium heated pan, add a dash of olive oil and sautee the garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes before adding in the mushroom.

Stir fry the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes until well cooked, then season with salt and lots of pepper.

Add the mixture into a blender along with walnuts and blend until well combined. Voilà, vegan pâté !

2. Prepare the BBQ vegetables:

Wash and chop shiitake mushrooms and the aubergine. Here we used shiitake mushrooms because of its meaty texture and aubergine for its fatty texture. But you can use any vegetables you like.

Peel and finely mince and dice the garlic and onion.

With the lemongrass, you'll want to bruise it by smashing it with the back of a knife or a sturdy glass to release its flavour before mincing finely.

Finely chop coriander and spring onions (or chives).

In a large bowl, add garlic, onion, lemongrass, coriander and spring onions along with the aubergine and mushroom pieces. 

Add soy sauce, maple syrup (or brown sugar), liquid smoke and lots of pepper. The dark soy sauce does not have much taste, it is purely to give a dark colour to the vegetables. The liquid smoke is to add a smokey BBQ flavour. However you can skip these two ingredients if you do not have them.

Marinate the mixture for at least 15 minutes. Then you can either add a dash of olive oil to a griddle pan to grill the vegetables or put them on the outdoor grill. Alternatively, you could add a touch of olive oil to the mixture and oven roast them at 200C until they are done, turning occasionally. Whichever method you choose, be careful not to add too much of the marinate liquid to the grill/oven.

3. Assemble:

Toast your baguette then cut the side of your baguette to create a pocket large enough to add your fillings. 

Spread on your pâté and mayonnaise.

Add whichever fillings you like!

This recipe is perfect for a packed lunch or a quick dinner as you can easily prepare all these ingredients in advance!

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