And then we realized: we’ve never tried chicken. So, one quick trip to The Battle of the Bành Mì later, here we are.
The recipe on Foodwoolf was a good starting point, but we thought it was too reliant on the Chinese Five Spice and not hot enough. In the end, we doubled the fish sauce and added Sriracha to the marinade.
One of the questions last time around was, is the fish sauce really necessary? If you’re not going to use it for anything else, is it worth it to buy a bottle? I have to say, yes. First of all, I picked up a 750 ml bottle of Thai fish sauce for $2 at Sunflower Market, and even if we only use it to make Bành Mì once a month for a year or so, that’s pennies per serving. And it does add a depth to the flavor that’s missing without it. M’s not a big anchovy fan, but fish sauce is one of those things that has a pungent, maybe unpleasant smell all by itself, but mixed with some lime juice and garlic and then put to work on the grill, it transforms. Not sure into what, but transform it does.
First, pickle your veggies:
1-2 cups julienned carrots
1-2 cups julienned daikon (Japanese white radish)
Optional: thinly sliced red bell pepper
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbs sea salt or kosher salt
Mix together carrots, daikon, and peppers (optional) in a glass bowl. In a small measuring cup, mix rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt, and stir until everything is dissolved. (You can nuke the mixture for 20-30 seconds to warm it up to speed the process.) Pour the pickling solution over the veggies and let stand for at least an hour.
Right before serving, you can throw some sliced cucumbers in there as well.
Bành Mì Chicken Marinade
1-1.5 pounds chicken: either boneless thighs or breast
2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup fish sauce
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of your knife and then finely chopped
2-3 shallots, finely chopped
1 Tbs Sriracha
1 Tbs sugar
If you’re using boneless thighs, you can use them as is. All we had was chicken breast, though, so we sliced each breast into about three long strips, about ½ inch in diameter.
Lay the chicken in a nonreactive shallow pan and sprinkle with the Five Spice.
Then mix the other ingredients and pour over the meat. Marinate for about an hour. Then grill. Let cool for about five minutes, then chop or shred the meat.
¼ cup mayo
juice of one lime
a couple of squirts of Sriracha
± Tbs of finely chopped cilantro
Mix all of the above and spread on warmed French rolls. (You can wrap them in foil and put them on the grill with the chicken for about 5 minutes, flipping once.)
Other toppings: cilantro leaf and cucumbers
1 halved and sliced cucumber
1 thinly sliced fennel bulb
3 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs olive oil
Dash of sea salt
A few grinds of black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro