Tin Vuong, chef of Little Sister in L.A., shares his recipe for a grilled lemongrass chicken banh mi that's piled high with fresh and pickled vegetables and herbs.
This marinade adds the key flavoring component to the dish. Make sure you marinate the chicken at least one hour, and you can even go up to overnight. The longer you marinate, the better the sandwich.
To learn more, read "Banh Mi, Myself & I."
Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi
Recipe adapted from Tin Vuong, Little Sister, Los Angeles, CA
Yield: Two 12-inch banh mi
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus resting time
Cook Time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time
Total Time: 40 minutes, plus marinating and resting time
For the Lemongrass Chicken:
1 cup fish sauce
6 tablespoons grated palm sugar, or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 small lemongrass stalks, minced
Freshly cracked black and white pepper, to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
For the Bahn Mi:
Two 12-inch baguettes, halved and toasted
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red nuoc cham
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons roasted cashews, roughly chopped
Pickled daikon, for garnish
Pickled carrot, for garnish
Julienned cucumber, for garnish
Julienned jalapeños, for garnish
Thinly sliced red onion, for garnish
Thai basil leaves, for garnish
Mint leaves, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
1. Make the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together all the lemongrass chicken ingredients except the chicken. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Light a grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook, flipping once, until charred and reaching an internal temperature of 165º, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 3-inch pieces.
3. Assemble the banh mi: Spread the mayonnaise on both the tops and bottoms of the baguettes. Divide the chicken between the bottom halves, then drizzle each with the nuoc cham. Divide the scallions and cashews over each, then garnish with a pinch of pickled daikon, pickled carrot, cucumber, jalapeños, red onion, Thai basil, mint and cilantro. Place the top halves on and slice each sandwich into 4 pieces, then serve.