With a love of all things sandwich, I have been curious to try the Vietnamese-style sandwiches called Banh Mi that I’ve been hearing more and more about, thanks to all the food-related television we watch. On our trip to Idaho last December, I finally got to sample my first Banh Mi in Boise, and of course it was delicious. How could it not be with marinated meat served with pickled, vinegary vegetables, and cilantro on a fresh French baguette?
However, duplicating this flavor at home has proved difficult, though I have no complaints about all the trials. The challenge has been getting that “authentic,” layered, multidimensional flavor – a challenge that a local restaurant I recently tried also seems to have (it was a good sandwich, but just “missing something”).
And while each Bahn Mi we make at home gets closer to that flavor we’ve been trying to duplicate, through this process, we’ve stumbled upon something that I love even more, fresh spring rolls that we’ve made to go on the side!
While I love a good, homemade egg roll and am never one to shy away from anything deep fried, there is something about the fresh spring rolls that is amazing. You can taste each ingredient, but then together in one bite, dipped in peanut sauce, it is even better! We’ll keep working on our Vietnamese sandwich making skills, and in the meantime, eat more and more of the spring rolls, which I think anyone can master!
- Shrimp, cooked and peeled
- Cilantro leaves
- Mint leaves, chopped*
- Carrot, julienne cut
- Avocado*, sliced
- Cucumber*, julienne cut
- Daikon radish*, julienne cut or shaved with a crank apple peeler, can be marinated in seasoned rice vinegar
- Rice vermicelli*
- Bean sprouts*
*these ingredients can be mixed and matched, depending on your taste and what you have available
- Slice cooked shrimp in half lengthwise and prepare the rest of the ingredients. Boil the rice noodles for 3-5 minutes until soft.
- Dip the rice paper wrappers in warm water for a few seconds to soften.
- Place 3 shrimp with the outside (pink side) down and top with whole cilantro leaves (so the color contrast of pink to dark green shows through the clear wrapper when rolled).
- Add the rest of the fillings and roll the top, sides, and bottom.
- Slice in half and serve with peanut sauce and/or fish sauce.