There was no question that my other Six Foot Long Party Sub for the Big Brunch Party would be a Banh Mi. I’m hooked on Banh Mi. What is Banh Mi, you ask? Well, it’s like the delicious bastard sandwich child of a snooty but charming French colonist and a beautiful back-alley Vietnamese call girl. It’s a sandwich on a fluffy baguette with spiced meats, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, mayonnaise, and a little hot sauce. They were originally sold out of little carts on the streets of Vietnam on the cheap, and somehow, they have become “all the rage” here (probably because we’re sick of Subway, and they’re delicious).
I googled and found a recipe for Five-Spice Chicken Banh Mi (adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe) on FoodWoolf.com that sounded really good, so I gave it a try. It took the most time of any of the recipes I made for this party, but it turned out to be the better than the Banh Mi I buy at the Vietnamese sandwich shop, so it was worth the effort!
Here is how I adapted this delicious recipe to be a super-sized party sub:
- I used 36 chicken thighs on the bone (one giant package from Costco), broiled in small batches. Next time, I would use boneless thighs. The time to debone all that chicken after it was cooked (ie, FOREVER) wasn’t worth it with all the other work to be done. If you prefer white meat to dark meat, though, I would avoid boneless breasts since they can dry out easily.
- I used a little less lime in the mayonnaise than called for, since I didn’t want my mayo to be runny and soak into the bread too much (I made it the day before).
- Since I like the pickled cucumbers right on the sandwich, I cut the cukes into thick match-sticks and used the salad dressing recipe alone to let them marinate (I skipped the fennel, onion, Sriracha, & cilantro).
- I let all my pickles marinate overnight for extra pickle-ness. I tripled the pickle recipes. I had 3X too many pickles… Next time I would just make 1 recipe and save lots of julienne-time.
- If you can find fish sauce and Chinese Five Spice powder, you’re in for a flavor treat! I found both at my local non-gourmet grocery store, but I don’t know how easy they are to find in less ethnically-diverse areas. If you can’t find them, you might not miss the fish sauce, and you can try mixing your own ‘five spices’: freshly ground pepper, star anise, clove, cinnamon, and ground fennel seed.
It may have been a bastard to make, but it was a full-blooded delight to eat.