Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Sandwich Bahn Mi
As far as I know, this has to be the most popular sandwich available in Australia outside of Vietnam. Why? Because it is tasty, healthy and cheap, cheaper than a standard sandwich you buy at a sandwich deli shop. This is Vietnamese street food at its best and it comes with a light, crunchy almost airy baguette roll called "bahn mi" in Vietnamese and filled with salad, herbs, and your choice of protein - pork, chicken or tofu - spread with butter, mayonnaise, sweet sauce and some of their own, I am sure, secret homemade sauce.
You can easily make this at home, share with your neighbours or at a picnic with friends. In this recipe, I made my own grilled lemongrass chicken and pickled carrots and daikon to go with my "bahn mi". I bought the Vietnamese baguette from a "bahn mi" shop since it is cheaper to buy than to try and make my own. If you can't find a Vietnamese baguette locally where you live, you can use the normal French baguette. The difference is that a Vietnamese baguette is not as heavy as a French baguette, making it perfect to stuff a lot of salad and meat in it
Make the sauce mixture to marinade the chicken by combining minced garlic, lemongrass, chilli, french shallots, coriander stems, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and soy dark caramel sauce
Marinade chicken and leave for a few hours or overnight is best in the fridge
Wash, prepare and slice carrots and daikon into thin strips. Add both carrot and daikon in a large bowl and add rice vinegar or white vinegar, water and caster sugar to pickle the vegetables
Wash, prepare and slice a cucumber into thin slices and spring onions into thin strips
Brush some cooking oil on a hot skillet. Then grill marinated chicken on both sides to brown before putting in the oven to cook through
Slice the cooked chicken into thin slices
Make the bahn mi sandwich by first spreading some mayonnaise, sweet sauce and chilli sauce. Then add grilled chicken pieces, pickled carrots and daikon, sliced cucumber, spring onions and coriander leaves
How to make
Prepare and make chicken marinade sauce mixture. Chop and mince the garlic, lemongrass, french shallots, red chilli and coriander stems until very fine and then combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy dark caramel sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix through evenly and marinade the chicken. Cover the marinated chicken with cling wrap and leave in the fridge for 2 hours or more or even overnight. The longer the better. Before cooking the chicken, remove and let the chicken sit on the kitchen bench for 30 minutes or until it reaches the room temperature.
Wash and slice both the carrots and daikon into thin strips. Add them into a bowl and add 1 cup of rice vinegar or white vinegar, 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of caster sugar. Let the vegetable pickle for at least 20 minutes to be used later in the bahn mi sandwich.
Wash the spring onions. Then cut into 3 equal sections and slice them thinly to be used later in the bahn mi sandwich.
Wash the cucumber and then slice into thin slices to be used later in the bahn mi sandwich.
Heat up a skillet on a high flame. Brush the skillet with some cooking oil. Then add the marinated chicken to grill on one side for 3 minutes and same with the other side. Remove and put in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 15 minutes. This varies depending on your oven type. I have a fan-forced oven which is hotter than a normal conventional oven.
Remove the chicken from the oven once it is cooked. Slice into thin slices to be used later in the bahn mi sandwich.
When you are ready to eat your bahn mi sandwich, slice a Vietnamese baguette lengthwise in the middle from the front and leave some space at the back. Do not slice all the way through. Only enough so you can split the baguette into halves. Spread some mayonnaise, sweet bean sauce and chilli sauce on the inside of baguette. Then fill with slices of grilled lemongrass chicken, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber slices, spring onions and coriander leaves.
Vietnamese baguette rolls
2 chicken thigh fillets or maryland fillets, boneless and skinless
2 small bunch of corainder leaves and stems
2 spring onions
1 bird-eye chilli
2 garlic cloves
1 medium size french shallots
3-4 tablespoons of minced lemongrass or 2 lemongrass stalks
soy dark caramel sauce
rice vinegar or white vinegar
sweet bean sauce or hoi sin sauce