Crumbed Eggplant Bánh Mì

I’ve been kind of absent the past few days, I had hoped for a few more posts with good intentions of sharing some lamingtons with you. Unfortunately the time pressure meant that said lamingtons never saw the light of day. Oh well, some other time. But for now, today’s prompt:

Lunch on the go.

I am usually at work when I need to get lunch ‘on the go’, and there are two things I usually pick from to fit the bill – bánh mì (from one of the multiple places along Smith st) or sushi from Wabi Sabi Salon. My favourite place for bánh mì is Trang Bakery as they have a range of vegan options on offer. Unfortunately it is down the far end of Smith st to me, which means it can be a bit of a challenge to get to in my half hour lunch break. But as I do outreach work, I’m often driving from or back to the office and can stop at Trang on the way/back. My favourite bánh mì there is the tempura eggplant – it is the absolute bomb diggity.

So today, I’ve made my own eggplant bánh mì as an homage to Trang. This is certainly not something speedy to make (although if you had all the constituents made ahead it is quick to throw together) but it’s definitely something you can eat on the run. Well I can anyway.

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At Trang Bakery, they put a colourful relish-like spread on the rolls in place of pâté, which is both mysterious and delicious. As I did not have the willpower to try and replicate it, I’ve created my bánh mìs with a mushroom pâté and a sriracha blended mayonnaise. I’m a big fan of all the extras – plenty of chilli, crushed peanuts and fried shallots. They also drizzle something out of a squeezie bottle on them at Trang which is a little sweet, and I suspect might be hoisin or a blend. I did some drizzling of my own of hoisin and it tasted great. It’s a keeper.

banhmi

Try not to be alarmed by the great ingredients list – all the processes are simple, and only involve a little time. The most consuming activity is the battering of the eggplant, but once that’s out of the way it’s all smooth sailing.

Crumbed Eggplant Bánh Mì
(makes 4)

4 bread rolls
1 Lebanese cucumber
, julienned
¼ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
4 chillis, sliced (optional)

2 Tbsp crushed peanuts (optional)
2 Tbsp fried shallots (optional)
Hoisin sauce for drizzling

Eggplant:
2 Japanese eggplants
1/3 cup cornflour
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
¾ cup soy milk
¼ cup flour
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper
Spray olive oil

Pickled veg:
½ cup carrot, julienned
½ cup daikon, julienned
½ cup warm water
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt

Mushroom Pâté:
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cups cremini mushrooms, diced
1 small onion, diced (about
¼ cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½  cup cashews, toasted
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Sriracha Mayonaisse:
¼ cup vegan mayonaiise
1 tbsp sriracha
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp soy sauce

For the eggplant:
Peel eggplants and slice them diagonally into rounds. Salt them and leave them in a colander over the sink for about 15 minutes to allow some of the liquid to drain. Rinse and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 220C and line a baking tray with paper. Place cornflour in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together soy milk, flour, garlic, onion, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper. In a third bowl, place the breadcrumbs. Take each piece of eggplant and coat with cornflour in the first bowl, before dredging it in the batter mixture and then coating in bread crumbs. Repeat with each piece, then spray with olive oil. Flip and spray the other side. Place in the oven for approx 30 minutes – flipping once – until lightly browned.

For the pickles:
Dissolve sugar in the warm water in a small bowl. Add rice wine vinegar, salt, carrot and daikon and submerge the vegetables. Set aside.

For the mayo:
In a small bowl, stir all ingredients together. Set aside.

For the pâté:
Heat sesame oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and saute for five minutes. Add garlic and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

To assemble:
Slice open bread rolls and spread pâté on the bottom and sriracha mayo on the top. Arrange eggplant on the bottom, followed by eggplant, pickled veg, coriander and chili. Sprinkle with fried shallots and peanuts if using, then drizzle with hoi sin sauce.

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27 thoughts on “Crumbed Eggplant Bánh Mì

  1. I know what you mean about the time factor, I have these ideas of what i want to share with Vegan Mofo in relation to the prompts, but time restraints forbid – Anyway, I love the sound of this – it reminds me a little of old fashion vegan schnizels made with aubergines, but your mushroom pate and sriracha mayo has got me swooning. Yum, I am getting hungry, but its tomatoes for my lunch – lots of them.

    1. It’s particularly in the middle of MoFo, when I realise I can’t spend every waking hour cooking, planning and photographing! Haha. Ooh tomatoes, I can’t wait for them to be back in season and tasty again here.

    1. It’s so delicious! What did you get at Smith and Deli? I popped by the other day and got a PB and J donut, omg…

  2. I’ve only had a non-vegan banh mi once, -eons ago- was totally underwhelmed by it but your banh mi makes me want to find one immediately! I can see this coming together easy once all the elements are in place.
    Between you and Veganopoulous, you two are doing the best food photography on the interwebs. Though I am a little biased by team Australia -sorry Canada 😉

    1. I have never tried a non-veg one, but I am totally obsessed with them. I just love the flavours, and can’t go past a chewy crusty roll. You are too kind Lysette, what a lovely compliment 🙂 hehe, Australia representing!

  3. This looks like the best sandwich ever! Banh mi’s are not something you really come across where I live though a couple of Vietnamese places have opened in Manchester recently so I really should investigate. I did manage to get one though at the big vegan fair in Manchester last year and it was fantastic.

    1. Thanks Caroline! I feel like banh mis really took off recently here, although I am sure they have been present for some time, particularly in predominantly Vietnamese neighbourhoods. They have certainly become ‘trendy’ in the last few years…I’m not complaining, I love them!

  4. That sandwich wins the prize for most-delicious-looking! I’m totally going to try this.

    I too have had good intentions to keep up with MoFo, but alas I’ve fallen behind.

    1. Thanks Rose! I hope you enjoy it!

      I know, it’s very hard to consistently find the time to post. Oh well, we are almost at the end (sort of)

  5. Just came across your site and wanted to say that these Banh Mi look gorgeous! I did a version last week on my blog but I will definitely have a go with crumbed eggplant and a mushroom pate. Also love the idea of adding crushed peanuts and fried shallots for extra pops of flavour and texture! <3

    1. Hey Claudia, thanks so much for your kind words! I will have to check yours out too 🙂 Yes, I’m all about extra textures and flavours. I totally stole the idea from Trang Bakery, but hey, it’s delicious!

  6. Oh my god. This looks incredible. Srsly, I want to eat through the screen. Scratch anything else I said that I am making this weekend, I want to try this banh mi! If I ever get back to Melbs, will you take me to Trang? I’m going to be dreaming about this deliciousness for the rest of the week! x

    1. Haha thanks Laura! I think this was my favourite thing to eat all month, we have already made it like three times since I posted this. I loooooove banh mi. Definitely! Trang is well worth a visit 😀 I’m heading to Perth in a couple of weeks, although I’m not sure what the time availability will be like – I’m zipping in for five days for a family thing but if I can I’ll give you a bell. One day we will meet….! Haha!

  7. Dis is one the best veggie bahn mi recipe..
    Looking delicious..
    I m gonna add some herb oil and crèma too..
    Beautiful recipe…thanx..
    xo..

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