A Classic French Vietnamese Fusion Bánh Mi Sandwich!
Vietnamese Bánh Mì shops offer one of the best dining values in the restaurant industry. The average price of a Bánh Mì Sandwich usually ranges between $2.50 to $3.75. When considering that that these specialty sandwiches are made fresh to order, that is a good price. Better still, most Vietnamese Bánh Mì shops offer a "Buy 5, Get 1 Free" special. Nowhere else can a customer get 6 tasty sandwiches for less than $17.00!
Why are Bánh Mì so cheap? The answer lies in the portion size. The name Bánh Mì actually refers to the specialty French Vietnamese fusion bread, which can be made for pennies on the the dollar. The bread for these sandwiches is a French Baguette that is made with half wheat flour and half rice flour. The hybrid Baguette is cut about 8" to 10" long for a Bánh Mì Sandwich, so the bread portion size is good. Traditional Bánh Mì are always garnished with a petite portion of Julienne Daikon Radish, Julienne Carrot, Thing Sliced Cabbage and optional thin sliced Jalapeño Peppers. The portion size of the featured meat, seafood or vegetable on a Bánh Mì is a petite tasting portion that weighs only 2 to 4 ounces. Often the sandwich has a small amount of mayonnaise (traditional), sweet vinegar or an Asian style house specialty sauce added to increase flavor. When it is all added up, each Bánh Mì only has a total of 3 to 5 ounces of ingredients on a good size Bánh Mì Baguette, which means that these flavorful sandwiches are light on the tummy.
Because Bánh Mì are light on the tummy, a hungry customer usually will order several Bánh Mì for one meal. The petite featured ingredient portion size is the beauty of the Bánh Mì dining experience, because a wide variety of different Bánh Mì flavors can be experienced in one sitting. This is why the "Buy 5, Get 1 Free" deal at a Bánh Mì shop is so popular. Business customers can feed an entire office full of employees some extra good tasting petite portion sandwiches for a low price. Sports fans that plan to do nothing more than watch ball games on a day off can munch on a wide variety of cheap sandwiches all afternoon. Bánh Mì are the ultimate bargain price munch!
Bánh Mì shops usually offer more than 25 varieties of Bánh Mì on the menu board. The traditional House Special #1 Bánh Mì is always made with French style canned lunch meats. Other traditional Bánh Mì include, Sardines Packed In Tomato Sauce, Select Canned Lunch Meats, Canned Saucy Pork Meatloaf, Char Siu BBQ Pork, Marinated Stir Fry Beef, Canned Asian Style Saucy Pork Meatballs, Fresh Vegetables and Canned Chicken Liver Paté.
As one can see, Vietnamese Bánh Mì Sandwich Shops value tradition, because all of the original Bánh Mì were made with French Army Canned Rations during the French occupation of Vietnam. Refrigeration was scarce back in those days and canned lunch meat food or canned prepared food had a long shelf life in the hot humid tropical climate. This is why canned meats are stilled used to make Bánh Mì in this modern age.
Pâté Bánh Mì is usually made with canned Chicken Liver Pâté. The canned Pâté can be soft and spreadable or it can be a firm texture that is thin sliced. Since the cost of canned food products have risen dramatically during the last decade, many Bánh Mì chefs have started making many of the prepared items from scratch. When considering the very low price of fresh chicken livers, making any style of Chicken Liver Pâté will reduce food cost. Besides, a good Pâté Foie de Volaille adds a signature touch!
Bánh Mì French Baguette Bread:
This recipe is optional for those who prefer making their own bread. A standard French Baguette from a bakery can be used to make a Bánh Mì Sandwich. Authentic Bánh Mì Baguette Bread is made with half wheat flour and half rice flour and this recipe provides this option.
Rice flour is a very hard flour and it does require extra time to absorb moisture. I tried to add rice flour to a baguette dough recipe, then make the bread like a regular baguette. The result was an extra stiff bread texture and a crust that would not brown. As can be seen in the photos above, this crude Bánh Mì Bread making method was a failure and the bread was not exactly a pleasure to eat.
After talking to some bakers and doing some research, I found a better method for making Bánh Mì Bread. The extra steps described below for a modified French Baguette Recipe will yield a good Bánh Mì Baguette.
Follow these steps to make an authentic Bánh Mì Baguette:
Step 1: Follow this link to the French Baguette Recipe in my Comfort Food Website:
Step 2: Divide the amount of flour needed by 2. (1/2 the total amount)
Use the half portion number to measure the rice flour.
Place the portion of rice flour in a mixing bowl.
Step 3: Measure 1/2 of the water needed for the Baguette Recipe.
Place the water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
Bring the water to a boil.
Step 4: Add the hot water to the rice flour while stirring.
Stir till combined.
Step 5: Place the rice flour paste in a container.
Chill the rice flour paste for 4 hours.
Step 6: Start the French Baguette recipe and use 1/2 of the water measurement.
Measure 1/4 of the total water measurement in the recipe and add this amount to the 1/2 portion of water measurement.
Follow the steps in the recipe for activating the yeast.
Step 7: Add the rice flour paste to the activated yeast and water solution in the mixer bowl.
Measure 1/2 of the bread flour amount in the recipe.
Add the 1/2 portion of bread flour.
Step 8: Follow the rest of the baguette recipe as normal.
|Chicken Liver Pâté|
Firm Beef Aspic:
This recipe yields enough firm texture aspic for 3 petite chicken liver pâtés.
Step 1: Mix 1 1/2 ounces of rich beef consommé with 1 gram of powdered gelatin in a small sauce pot.
Heat the mixture over very low heat till, the gelatin dissolves.
Step 2: Remove the pot from the heat.
Keep the aspic warm on a stove top.
*If the aspic cools and gels, reheat the aspic so it becomes a liquid state, before adding it to the pâté mixture later in the recipe.
Chicken Liver Pâté Preparation:
This recipe yields about 18 ounces of chicken liver påté mixture. (Enough for 3 petite pâtés.)
This is not a smooth spreadable pâté. It is a firm pâté that can be sliced.
Step 1: Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
Add 1 ounce of unsalted butter.
Add 1 tablespoon of smoked pork fat lardons. (thick smoked bacon lardons)
Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
Add 2 tablespoons of minced onion.
Add 3 tablespoons of minced portobello mushrooms.
Gently sauté and sweat the vegetables, till they become tender.
Step 2: Raise the temperature to medium heat.
Add 4 ounces of trimmed chicken livers.
Briefly sauté till the livers are only halfway cooked.
Step 3: Add 3 ounces of brandy.
Step 4: Remove the pan from the heat.
Let the ingredients cool to room temperature.
Step 5: Remove the partially cooked chicken livers from the pan and place them in a container.
Chill the half cooked chicken livers till later in the recipe.
Step 6: Place the remaining ingredients of the pan, including the butter and lardon fats, into a food processor.
Add 11 ounces of raw uncooked trimmed chicken livers.
Add the reserved firm beef aspic.
Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Add 2 ounces of diced cured pork fat. (Salt pork fat can be used, but it must be soaked in water, so some of the salt content is leached out.)
Add 1/4 teaspoon of fine ground mace.
Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
Add 2 to 3 pinches of white pepper.
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt. (to taste)
Puree the mixture till it is very smooth.
Step 7: Place the pâté puree mixture in a mixing bowl.
Cut the reserved partially cooked whole chicken livers into small bite size pieces.
Add the chicken liver pieces to the puree while stirring.
Chill the pâté mixture till it is needed.
Chicken Liver Pâté:
This recipe yields 3 petite pâtés that weigh about 6 ounces apiece.
Step 1: Select 3 mini terrine molds that have a 6 to 8 ounce capacity.
*Petite earthenware or enameled steel terrine molds work best. Petite baking pans or silicone baking molds can also be used. The molds can have any kind of shape. A silicon caramel custard cup baking mold was used for the pâté in the pictures. I used tiny rectangular mini meat loaf baking pans to make 2 more pates that are not pictured above.
Brush 3 petite terrine molds with melted lard or melted unsalted butter.
Step 2: Stir the chicken liver pâté mixture.
Fill each terrine mold so it is almost completely full. (About 1/4" from the top.)
Step 3: Place the terrines in a high sided roasting pan.
Add enough water to the pan, so the level of water comes halfway up the sides of the terrine molds. (bain marie)
Step 4: Place the bain marie in a 275ºF oven.
Bake till the pâtés are fully cooked. (Add water to the bain marie if evaporation occurs.)
*The center temperature of each pâté should be at least 165ºF for 15 seconds, but no more than 180ºF or the fats will separate. Different shapes and sizes of petite terrine molds may require separate baking times.
Step 5: Remove the bain marie pan from the oven.
Let the pâtés gradually cool to room temperature in the main marie.
Step 6: Remove the pâtés from the bain marie.
Cover each terrine mold with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate the the pâtés to 41ºF.
Step 7: Place a flat weigh on each molded pâté or stack the terrine pans if they are the same size. The weigh will press the pâté and cause it to become dense.
Chill the pâtés for 24 to 48 hours.
Step 8: When a pâté is needed, gently warm the terrine mold in a sauté pan that is partially filled with water over very low heat. After the terrine mold is warmed, the pâté should easily pop out when inverted and tapped on a cutting board.
Chicken Liver Pâté Bánh Mì:
This recipe yields 1 Bánh Mì Sandwich.
Step 1: Cut an 8" to 10" long section of Bánh Mì Baguette Bread or French Baguette Bread.
Cut the bread in half lengthwise.
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise or Dijon Mustard on each bread half.
Step 2: Garnish the bottom half of the bread with a small amount of each of these items:
- Julienne Daikon Radish
- Thin sliced Napa Cabbage
- Julienne Carrot Strips
- Thin sliced Green Jalapeño (optional)
- Cilantro Sprigs
Step 3: Cut 3 ounces to 3 1/2 ounces of thin sliced Chicken Liver Pâté.
Place the thin Chicken Liver Pâté slices side by side on top of the vegetable garnish.
Step 4: Place the top half of the bread on the sandwich.
Place the Chicken Liver Bánh Mì on a plate.
Garnish the plate with herb sprigs and a pickle of your choice.
Traditionally, only a small amount of meat is placed on bánh mi. The bánh mi in the pictures has a
Tasty Chicken Liver Pâté Bánh Mì!