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Banh Mi -- Banh You -- Banh Vegan?

So I want to make the banh mi recipe listed here http://www.chow.com/recipes/11211 and I want to make it Vegan. (I have a vegan coming to my party and I like to be inclusive--hey it won't kill any of us to eschew animal products for one night and I like a challenge

)

1. I was thinking about brining tofu instead of pork), baking it at a low temp and then slicing it but the first time I tried, the tofu was WAY WAY too salty. Does anyone have another idea?
2. I haven't been able to find vegan pate at the Whole Foods near me, should I just make it myself or should I keep searching other sources? I ask b/c I have not loved the Moosewood recipe I tried in the past.
3. I was thinking about adding some tempeh bacon for a porky flavor in addition to tofu and vegan pate, do you think this would add to the sandwich or detract?
4. If you think the vegan result would just be pathetic, do you have another suggestion of a cute showstopper of a sandwich or individual dinner item?

Awaiting your vegan guidance.

Thanks!
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  1. Get the pre-baked tofu (maybe the asian flavor) and slice that on.. unless you really want to make your own tofu creation. Veganomicon is a cookbook that has many ways to prep tofu for sandwiches. (A broiled tofu recipe involves pre-dripping in lemon/soy/garlic/oil then broiling for a short while). Personally, I would just take the tofu, cut it into 1/4 or less inch thick wedges that are the width your bread and freeze it. The texture changes to chewier.. more like meat. If you're really interested, you could also make seitan. Search the web, you'll find recipes. It's kind of invovled, but seems really meaty.

    Re: pate- use veganaise and black pepper (skip the pate).

    All else same.

    2 Replies
    1. re: reannd

      I do kind of want to marinade the tofu myself although I have already purchased an asian flavor in case this is a disaster too. If I use a pre-marinade or my own, how long should I freeze for? Do I then remove and defrost at room temperature or bake or broil or fry?

      I have used seitan before and don't love it but maybe I ought to give it another shot. That might marinade nicely and might produce a consistency akin to pulled pork if I braise it at a low temp in the oven.

      1. re: Super Salad

        I think if you just let it freeze completely 1x (probably overnight), you should be fine. I usually just let mine defrost at room temp for 20-30min (depends on how thick it is) before serving this way.. but I usually do put it in hot things like soup or whatever.. so you may want to leave it in the fridge for a while just in case?

        Hope someone else has more experience =)

        PS - I would marinade it after defrosting .. it kinda ends up like a super-absorbant sponge (not really that chewy) and would be really tasty dipped in anything !! =)

    2. I've had vegan banh mi before. It was good. What they did was fry the tofu cubes and toss them in salt or something. They also drizzled on a curry sauce. Then they just added the pickled vegetables, cilantro onto the toasted bread. Very, very good.

      1. A place near me serves tofu hoagies - considering where the owners are from and the sandwich that was served to it, it's vegan banh mi. I would go that route instead of trying to veganize the Chow recipe, if it can even be called that considering we're talking about a sandwich.

        If you're not up for frying tofu, I would do as suggested and marinate extra firm tofu that has been pressed to remove liquid - a siracha/soy/sesame marinade ought to work well in this application. I would use this in lieu of all types of meat (and just forget trying to replicate the Chow recipe with the various types of meats). Use a flavourful vegan aioli, which I think you'll probably have to make yourself. Add some veggies, and it's a sandwich. (Personally, I would leave the soy sauce for guests to add for themselves, but that's just something I prefer.)

        1. I actually had a vegetarian Bahn Mi sandwich recently while i was in Phoenix (who knew you could get an amazing filling tasty sandwich for 3 bucks!)

          their sandwich was filled with all the pickled goodies, lots of flavorful fresh herbs, and this interesting shredded, fried yam and vermicelli mix...there was a great sweetness in it to balance the heat from the pickle

          1. Good idea. I recently made a chicken banh mi recipe from epicurious that I thought was quite good and at the time thought could work well vegan, although I haven't actually tried the vegan version myself:

            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            I think you could marinate the tofu in the chicken marinade and get a great flavor--maybe use a lower salt soy sauce. I would think you could skip the vegan pate (no pate in this recipe and it was still great).

            Veganaise is a good sub for regular mayo.

            Let us know how it turns out!

            1. Thanks for the ideas. I think I was trying to be too faithful to a pork pate version. IT soudns liek the key really is the fresh carrots, diakon, and cilatntro. Already purchased my veganaise. I will definitely let you know how the vegans and non-vegans liked the sandwich and I plan to have fun trying all the tofu products I can shove down my gullet in the interim.

              1. For the "meat" part, you could use strips of either portobello mushroom, seitan or tempeh. If you're really set on the tofu, though, check if you can find smoked tofu - it's firmer and it has a pretty assertive flavour.

                For the pâté, I like versions with lentils in them, like this one: http://www.all-creatures.org/mhvs/rec...

                I don't think the bacon is necessary, but it can't hurt. And vegan banh mi is good, so no worries. Just make sure you have all the toppings and condiments.

                1. Quick update. I used the recipe on chowhound recipe but made two vegan versions
                  1. Fried pre-baked asian flavored tofu with tempeh bacon
                  2. Sauteed portobello mushrooms with marinated and stir-fried shredded tofu.

                  I didn't make the pate and didn't need it. My friends really enjoyed the sandwiches and I would totally encourage anyone who is making the recipe for a party to do a veggie version in addition to the pork one.

                  Thanks for all the advice!