Simple Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe

If there is somewhere an actual building housing a Sandwich Hall of Fame, we know two things for sure. First of all, we really, really want to go there! (Who wouldn't?) Secondly, one of the biggest exhibits must be devoted to the bánh mì, one of the all-time sandwich greats due to its unique blend of different flavors and cultural influences. The bánh mì, as its name implies, comes from Vietnam, but it reflects the influence of the French colonists who had occupied this country prior to the Vietnam War. As Cooking With Lane explains it, a traditional bánh mì shows the French influence in the use of a baguette and also the inclusion of pâté.

Recipe developer Susan Olayinka says she and her family both love bánh mì, explaining that this sandwich "has a special sentimental place in our hearts as we went to Vietnam for a honeymoon and we had the best ones ever. So I swore that I would continue making it!" Her version omits the pâté ("expensive, and not to everyone's taste," and is made with healthy, inexpensive chicken thighs. Sure, this sandwich is not as easy to slap together as a PBJ or ham and cheese, but then, every masterpiece takes a little time, and the end results are more than worth the effort.

Gather the ingredients

In addition to the chicken thighs, this bánh mì is made with several fresh veggies and herbs: fresh garlic, a carrot, a little cucumber (you can use a mini one or just part of a large one), cilantro, and some fresh green chili peppers. You're also going to need some pantry staples: sesame oil, honey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine vinegar. Finally, for the sandwich itself, you'll need a baguette, some mayonnaise, and some Maggi Seasoning. If you're wondering where to get this last ingredient, many Asian groceries sell it, and sightings of it have been reported at Costco, as well. If you still can't find it, Olayinka says to use extra soy sauce since, as she tells us, "It's the same brine salt taste!" You'll also need some hot water and salt.

If you want to change up the chicken, Olayinka tells us "Pork [or] chicken breast would definitely work." If you want to make a vegetarian bánh mì, she suggests "some grilled tofu cut into thin strips or some grilled tempeh cut into thin strips (or yes, mushrooms too)," although you'd need to swap the mayo for Vegenaise if you wanted to avoid eggs, too.

Prep the veggies

One of the most time-consuming parts of making this sandwich involves prepping the veggies, but there's nothing too difficult about it. Peel and mince the garlic, then peel the carrot and slice it up into matchsticks. Peel the cucumber and slice into ribbons the amount that you're going to need, then pick the cilantro leaves off the stems. If you want to skip this last step, though, you can either chop the cilantro, stems and all, or else just use whole sprigs. Slice up the chili peppers as well.

As a final veggie prep step, mix the sugar with the rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, and a cup of hot water. Stir until the solids have dissolved, then pour the mixture over the sliced carrots and let them sit for an hour to quick-pickle.

Marinate and sauté the chicken

Chop the chicken meat into bite-sized chunks and put it in a bowl. Mix the garlic with the sesame oil, honey, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce and pour this marinade over the chicken. Stick that bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Once the chicken is all marinated, heat a frying pan over medium-high and sauté the chicken until it is cooked through, something that should take about 5 minutes per side or 10 minutes in all.

Let the chicken cool for a minute or so until it can be handled with ease. While you wait, drain the pickled carrots.

Assemble the bánh mì

Slice the baguette in half, then scoop out some of the soft, bready center so you can make more room for the fillings. Spread half the mayonnaise on each side, then sprinkle the mayo with Maggi Seasoning. Arrange the chicken chunks over the bottom half of the bread, then top it with the carrots, cucumber slices, cilantro, and green chilis. Put the top on the sandwich, then slice it in half (on the diagonal, if you want to be fancy) to make two servings.

To make a meal out of this bánh mì, Olayinka says "I would serve this with some sort of crisps [potato chips] or salad or some chips [fries]."

Simple Bánh Mì Sandwich Recipe
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If you think it's too difficult to make a bánh mì sandwich at home, think again. This tasty recipe comes together in just 25 minutes, and is super easy to make.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bánh mì on plate
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small cucumber or 1/2 a large cucumber
  • ½ cup of cilantro
  • 2 green chili peppers
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ⅛ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 (13-inch) baguette
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Maggi Seasoning
  1. Mince the garlic.
  2. Peel the carrot and chop it into matchstick pieces.
  3. Peel and slice the cucumber into ribbons.
  4. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems.
  5. Slice the green chilies.
  6. Mix the sugar, rice wine vinegar, and salt with the hot water until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  7. Pour the mixture over the carrots and let sit to pickle for 1 hour.
  8. Chop the chicken thigh meat into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large bowl.
  9. Mix the minced garlic, sesame oil, honey, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce, and pour it over the chicken.
  10. Refrigerate the chicken for 15 minutes.
  11. Heat a frying pan over medium-high and sauté the marinated chicken until cooked through, about 10 minutes
  12. Drain the pickled carrots.
  13. Slice open the baguette and scoop out some of the soft bread inside to create more room for the sandwich fillings.
  14. Spread mayonnaise onto both sides of the baguette, then sprinkle it with Maggi Seasoning.
  15. Place the cooked chicken inside the bread followed by carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and chili peppers.
  16. Slice the bánh mì in half to make two servings and enjoy!
Calories per Serving 1,066
Total Fat 38.3 g
Saturated Fat 6.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 168.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 129.0 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Total Sugars 49.0 g
Sodium 1,794.4 mg
Protein 52.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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