Vegetarian Banh Mi Sandwich

This is enough to fill two baguettes

1 lb. extra firm tofu (pressed dry, if possible)

¼ cup soy sauce or tamari

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey or agave

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

¼ teaspoon Five Spice Powder

1-2T vegetarian “fish” sauce (optional)

1-3 tablespoons canola oil

For the Pickled Vegetables:

½ cup distilled white vinegar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp. kosher salt

3 cups julienned carrots (about 1/8 inch thick)

To Finish the Sandwiches:

2 thin-crusted baguettes, partially split lengthwise (leave the spine uncut)

mayonnaise

1 small cucumber, preferably Kirby, cut into 1/8-inch-thick julienne strips

Scallions

6 leaves green leaf lettuce

Sriracha sauce

To Prepare the tofu:

  1. Slice the tofu into approximately ¼” slices. Cut each slice in half, on the diagonal
  2. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, agave, sesame oil, five spice, and fish sauce. Add the sliced tofu to the soy sauce mixture, and let it marinate for 1 – 24 hours
  3. Remove the tofu from the marinade, and pat it dry. Set the marinade aside
  4. Heat a large skillet over a medium-high heat. When it’s heated, add a tablespoon of oil, and add the tofu, and cook it until it’s browned, approximately 3-5 minutes per side. Do not over-crowd the pan. You may need to do this in a few batches.
  5. When it’s browned, add the reserved marinade, coating all of the tofu. Once the sauce has come to a simmer, remove it from the heat. Separate the tofu from the marinade, and put the marinade in a bowl, so the heat of the pan doesn’t evaporate the sauce

To Make the pickled vegetables:

  1. Whisk the vinegar, sugar, and salt together until dissolved. Add the carrots and toss well
  2. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to one day. Drain the pickles well before putting them in the sandwich

To make the sandwiches:

  1. Spread the mayonnaise on the top half of the baguettes.
  2. Divide the tofu evenly between the two baguettes
  3. Top the tofu with the well-drained pickled carrots, cucumber, scallions, lettuce, and a squirt of Sriracha
  4. Drizzle the braising liquid over the sandwich filling. Cut each baguette crosswise into halves or thirds and serve