Smile Politely

Báhn mì: More than just bread

Alright, alright, alright (in Matthew McConaughey’s drawl). Spring has sprung and it’s sandwich time! Let me get straight to the point; this báhn mì is amazing. It combines all things that are good: bread, Vegenaise, tofu scramble, pickles (fancy ones), and Sriracha sauce. What’s a báhn mì you ask? Here, I already googled it for you. Apparently, “báhn mì” is just a Vietnamese term for bread, specifically the baguette. You can read more about that later, but right now I want you to make this recipe and eat it! Don’t even worry about what side to serve with this; it is all here my friend.

I found this holy grail of a sandwich in Vegan Eats World, a great big encyclopedia of vegan recipes inspired by traditional cuisine from, you guessed it, around the world. Now, I’ve altered the recipe slightly here and there, simplified it if you will. But I want to talk about the daikon pickles. First of all, yum! These are really what bump this sandwich up to the next level. Secondly, I’ve written the recipe for the pickles just as it is in the book. However, I didn’t make them exactly this way. I can get a bit stingy when recipes tell me to use a lot of sugar for something that’s not going to end up as dessert. So I only did a quarter cup of sugar. I also cut the salt in half. And, although a little heat is fine, six jalapeños seemed like a lot. I think I used one or two. So I encourage you to play around with the pickle recipe; you can even just use carrots if you don’t want to use daikon. Oh, what is a daikon anyway, you ask? Got it! Just a big weird radish basically. But try it; it’s fun to discover new veggies. Once, I even made a daikon tea to help with cramps (Alicia Silverstone’s book told me too). Oh wow, it was not good. Stick to pickles instead!

Tofu Báhn Mì

From Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

2 T oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound firm tofu, drained

1/2 cup veggie broth

3 T soy sauce

2 T fresh lime juice

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp curry powder


Four 6 to 8-inch crusty baguettes (the ones at Strawberry Fields are a great option)


Tomato slices

Chili sauce (like Sriracha)

1/2 recipe Star Anise Daikon Pickles

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions with the garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook another few minutes. Crumble in the tofu. Whisk broth, soy sauce, lime juice, coriander, pepper, and curry powder together and pour over tofu. Sauté mixture until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Slice baguettes in half and toast. Spread insides with mayo and distribute tofu mixture evenly. Top with tomatoes, chili sauce, and daikon pickles. Dig in!


Star Anise Daikon Pickles

(Remember, feel free to play about with the amounts)

1/2 pound daikon radish

1/4 pound carrots (about 2 large)

6 large green jalapeño or serrano chilies

1 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 tsp whole peppercorns

4 whole star anise


Peel daikon and carrots and slice into matchsticks no thicker than a quarter inch. Slice chilies in half, remove seeds, and slice into very thin slivers. Toss everything together and pack into a 1-pint glass mason jar. In a small saucepan, bring to a gentle boil the vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and star anise and boil for two minutes. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt and pour everything over the veggies in the jar. Cover tightly and chill for 30 minutes before using.

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