Thursday, April 1, 2010

Banh mi without the bread

4 May 2009

...or, A Clash of Cultures


Chill your favourite bottle of Nigori (unfiltered) sake. I'm still working on finding a favourite.

Cut a good-sized, mature (i.e. sweeter) carrot into matchsticks.

Marinate matchsticks in 1/4 cup rice vinegar (subs. sherry vinegar), 2 Tbsp brown sugar, salt, several thin slices of fresh ginger. Dip your finger in it and taste - if you don't like it, tweak. At least 2 hours for marinading. Excellent if overnight. Cut a small cucumber into fatter matchsticks. Wash plenty of cilantro and dry it.

Hack drumsticks and thighs of a chicken into pieces, bones and all, with a serious knife lifted well above the shoulder. Put in very hot (450'F) oven in cast iron pan with 2 sliced garlic cloves, a sliced knob of ginger, a shaking of chile flakes, a Tbsp of sugar, many dashes of soy sauce and a lemon/lime's juice. Stir every now and then to coat evenly with caramelizing sauce and maybe add a dash of water to stop everything from going totally black.

Dip rice wrappers (resembling fibreglass sheets) in a bowl of water and lay on damp clean cloth.

Cut meat from chicken bones. Suck bones.

Put some chicken, some carrot, cucumber and a frill of cilantro on one end of wrapper near you. Fold over short sides, fold over long side and roll away from you.

If it breaks, give up and try another.

If that wrapper breaks, Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird. No. Put all ingredients into a pretty bowl, toss, and eat with chopsticks.

Don't forget the sake.

(Aside: for a picture of the real banh mi I sometimes eat for lunch click here, scroll past the whole long post, all the way to the bottom, and there it is. They cost $5 now.)

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