Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dry Cure Sausage Banh Mi

     Banh Mi!
     This is not a traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich, but the flavors go well together.  Greek Lovcka and Italian Soppressata are not considered to be official Vietnamese Banh Mi lunch meats, but as far as modern street food is concerned, anything goes!
     For those who demand Asian style sausage, there are plenty to choose from.  If you wish to use a good traditional Asian style sausage for today's recipe, Chinese Sweet Dry Cure Sausage is a good choice.

     Canned lunch meats are most often used to make Banh Mi.  Canned lunch meats were introduced during the French occupation of Vietnam as army rations and trade goods.  Fresh made meats are traditional too.  Steamed meat, stir fry meat, roasted meat, BBQ, meatballs and meatloaf are usually offers at Banh Mi shops.  Canned pâté, sardines and tuna are offered too.
     Vegetarians need not fret, because there are many veggie Banh Mi options too.  All sorts of pickled fresh or pickled vegetables are used to make Banh Mi.  Steamed, chilled, roasted or fried tofu is traditional too.
     There are a few required ingredients for making Bahn Mi.  Mayonnaise is used on just about any lunchmeat or canned meat Bahn Mi.  Banh Mi are almost always garnished with Daikon Radish, carrots and aromatic greens or fresh herbs.  Pickled vegetables or sliced fresh chile peppers are optional garnishes.  The American style lettuce, tomato and onion sandwich garnish is not used at all.
     The size of a Banh Mi baguette is smaller than a standard French baguette.  Traditional Banh Mi Bread is a baguette that is made with half wheat flour and half rice flour.  This creates an interesting light bread texture.  Many Banh Mi shops use traditional French baguettes and this is good too.
     Basically, as long as the featured ingredient is Vietnamese or a fusion of Vietnamese and French then it qualifies as a traditional Banh Mi fodder.  Anything else is considered to be a modern trendy ingredient.

     The main idea of Banh Mi is to keep the choice of meat cheap and only use a small portion of meat, so the price of a Banh Mi sandwich remains a good bargain.  The small amount of meat is also in keeping with the snack sandwich theme of Banh Mi.  Customers usually order several different kinds of Banh Mi when having a meal.
     At most Banh Mi Shops, the price of a sandwich ranges from $2.50 to $4.00.  Some shops even offer a "Buy 5, get one free" deal.  The only way to make a profit on Banh Mi is to keep the food cost low and to make high volume sales.  I have stood in line at a busy Banh Mi shop around lunch time and I have seen each customer order between 5 and 25 Banh Mi to-go.  Ordering a bunch of Banh Mi sure is a thrifty way to feed the crew lunch on the job site!
     Dry Cure Sausage Banh Mi:     
     This recipe yields 1 Banh Mi Snack Sandwich.
     Any dry cure sausage can be used to make this sandwich.  Lovcka and Soppressata taste good together.
     Step 1:  Cut a lengthwise slit into one side of a banh mi style mini baguette sandwich roll.
     Pry the roll open with your fingers.
     Remove some of the bread pith with your fingers.  (The pith can be saved for other recipes.)
     Step 2:  Spread some mayonnaise on the bread.
     Place a few small aromatic lettuce leaves and Vietnamese herbs on the bottom half of the sandwich. (Arugula, watercress and cilantro are good choices.)
     Place a few thin slices of soppressata on the lettuce.  (About 3/4 ounce.)
     Place a few thin slices of Lovcka on the sandwich.  (About 1 ounce.)
     Step 3:  Place some marinated daikon radish strips on the lunch meats.  (Vacuum sealed bags of marinated daikon radish are available at Asian food markets.)
     Sprinkle some thin match stick cut peeled broccoli stems over the radishes.
     Sprinkle some thin matchstick cut carrots over the broccoli and radishes.
     Place a few large diced pieces of bermuda onion on the sandwich.
     Step 4:  Place the banh mi sandwich on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with tiny lettuce leaves and mild pickled chile peppers.  (I used Greek Yellow Fefferoni as the garnish.)
     Place a Hopia Hapon (adzuki sweet bean paste cake) on the plate as an accompaniment.  (Hopia Hapon are available at Asian markets.)
     This Dry Cure Sausage Banh Mi Sandwich tastes great!

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