Banh Mi, Banh You

Back when Mr. Lunch and I were little wee sprouts living in the big city of Toronto as students in the early 2000s, we discovered the joys of Banh Mi subs.  Toronto’s primary Chinatown district has its share of hole-in-the-wall, non-descript-from-the-outside little sandwich shops slingin’ these Vietnamese bad boys for, at the time, about $1.50 a pop.  For a couple of dreadfully poor kids on a very, very tight budget, getting a big French loaf stuffed with tofu, cilantro, chilis, pickled veggies and cucumber was just the ticket.  For the authentic experience, you must rip the bag open the moment you leave the shop and eat it while sauntering down a smelly Chinatown alleyway.  But I digress.

Our love of Banh Mi has followed us throughout the years, and dare I say, we’ve gotten pretty good at making them at home.

Vegan Banh Mi

The one thing missing from the at-home experience is being shouted at by a small, sweet Vietnamese lady from across the counter, “little spicy?” to which you say “yes!”…only to discover what she really meant is she is going to hide a large, fully intact Thai bird’s eye chili somewhere inside your sandwich for you to find later.  At which point it will feel like your eyes are going to bleed.

What You’ll Need:

  • a couple good, crusty French sandwich loaves
  • daikon radish and carrot
  • cucumber
  • cilantro
  • vegan mayo
  • fresh chilis or sriracha
  • a block of tofu

Get your tofu going.  Create a quick marinade with chopped lemongrass, chopped fresh garlic, soy sauce, chili flakes, turmeric, a drizzle of oil, and thinned with a bit of vegetable stock.  Cut your tofu into slabs and dredge your pieces in said mixture in a pan and let marinate for as long as you can, or for as little as 10 minutes.  Reserving your marinade, take your tofu and drop it in a hot oiled pan and fry until golden brown.  Throw your reserved marinade on and let bubble away until reduced.  Boom.  Done.

img_6291

Make a quick pickle out of julienned daikon and carrot.  I love this recipe from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook.

Cut your sandwich loaf in half lengthwise, slather with mayo, chuck in your tofu, generously pile on your pickled veggies and cucumber, top with cilantro (and peanuts if you’re feeling fancy), add your chilis or sriracha, and enjoy.

Tempeh Asado Tacos, Braised Kale and Lime Cilantro Rice

A light summery evening called for dinner on the balcony.  What’s more summery than tacos?  Okay, probably a lot of things.  But really, who needs an excuse for tacos?  Tempeh tacos!  Tempeh asado tacos!

We made the tempeh asado from Viva Vegan (you can find the recipe online in Google Books here!) which is one of our absolute favourite ways to eat tempeh and it’s dead easy.

To assemble, lay 2-3 pieces of tempeh onto your tortilla and kind of smoosh with a fork to break them up.  Then, top with shredded cabbage (ours was marinated in a vinegary jalapeno dressing like the Curdito salad, also from Viva Vegan), thinly sliced radishes and tomatillo salsa.  Perfection, thy name is tempeh taco.

Paired with the lime cilantro rice (also from Viva Vegan) and a simple side of garlicky braised kale, it made for perfect balcony dinner food.

– Crystal

Arroz con Seitan

We’ve got a trip to Mexico planned for the beginning of November (what a way to wrap up MoFo, huh?) and it would be a dream come true if every place we went had food like this dreamboat of a dish here.  Wishful thinking; our plan is to gorge on local fruit while we’re there.
To build up excitement for our trip, we’ve been digging into the cookbook Viva Vegan a bit more lately.  We’ve never made this recipe before as it is pretty involved; what with the making the seitan and all.  Okay, it’s not really that bad if you make your seitan ahead of time, but we’re not so smart.  
This rice dish is laced with succulent olives and capers, juicy “chicken” seitan, cilantro, peas, green pepper, garlic, onion, and spiced with pretty staple Latin spices like oregano and cumin.
I found the recipe posted online here, but I strongly recommend you just buy the book.  There’s a recipe for churros!
Last night, we had some visitors a bit late into the evening and we didn’t even realize we hadn’t eaten dinner until 9:00pm.  What’s a couple of really hungry vegans to do?  Make epic nachos, that’s what.

Salsa, green olives, sliced jalapenos, beefy crumbles and daiya cheese on tortilla chips.  Bake and eat.

– Crystal