We recently harvested cucumbers and carrots from our garden here in Baltimore City (Boone Street Garden) and I decided to marinate the veggies in equal parts rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and honey to make pickles.
The pickles ended up being highlighted at a recent market where we sold vegetarian banh mi sandwiches as a fundraiser for our garden.
If you aren't familiar with banh mi, Wikipedia will tell you what they are:
Bánh mì or bánh mỳ (English pronunciation: /ˈbʌnmiː/, Vietnamese: [ɓǎːɲ mî]), literally biscuit or cake (Bánh) and flour or wheat (mì), is a Vietnamese baguette made with both wheat and rice flour, but more popularly known as a type of sandwich traditionally made with this type of baguette. There are many global and regional variations of the sandwich, but the most common version features thinly sliced pickled carrots and daikon (known as đồ chua), cucumbers, cilantro, chili peppers, pâté, mayonnaise and various meat fillings or tofu. Popular bánh mì fillings include roasted or grilled pork, steamed or roasted pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, chicken, head cheese and ham.
I haven't seen a vegetarian version of pate, but figured I could make it work. I ended up modifying a recipe I used to make pho broth and used lentils instead of meat.
The spread actually does contain a little fish sauce so it's not quite vegetarian, but if you're not a hard-core vegetarian just someone who wants to eat a little more sustainably, this sandwich spread is great.
The sandwiches turned out really well! And I'd bet the pate would work great on crackers or as a dip with fresh veggies. So I'm submitting the recipe as part of the summer cook-off:
(Almost) Vegetarian Vietnamese Pate
- coriander + black peppercorns + cinnamon + star anise + ginger
- dried brown lentils
- sesame oil
- fish sauce
1. Saute one tablespoon each coriander and black peppercorns + two star anise + two cinnamon sticks + one inch of sliced ginger in a dry medium sized sauce pan for a minute or two until they are fragrant and a little toasty. Scrape toasted spices into a cheesecloth and tie up in a spice sack.
2. Pour two cups of water into the sauce pan with one cup of dried lentils and the spice sack. Cover pot and bring water to a boil over medium high heat, then simmer until lentils are done, about 30 minutes or so. Stir occasionally and taste for tenderness every ten minutes.
3. Remove spice sack. Blend cooked lentils with one tablespoon fish sauce and two to three tablespoons sesame oil, or to taste.
Spread half your baguette with pate, and the other half with mayo (homemade if possible!) Add pickle slices, cilantro, sriracha chili sauce, onion slices, sprouts, or other toppings if using. That's about it! Wrapping the sandwich tightly in wax paper makes it easier to eat.
A more complete post is located on the BaltimoreDIY blog here.