I love to make Asian slaw (using Thai flavors) and I love to make Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwiches. So, I decided to combine the two last week, and proceeded to eat the results for three days in a row. This indicated to me that it might be worthy of writing up a recipe when I still wanted to eat more. It’s sort of a Bahn Mi slaw, but I decided to call it a bowl because it’s worthy of being a stand-alone meal.
I know this looks like a crazy bunch of ingredients, but it comes together really fast (it’s quick enough for a week night meal) and it’s very flexible, I’ll list some substitutions so you get the idea.
Now go make a big bowl of this crunchy, savory, sweet, spicy, tangy, cold, warm, chewy delight and grab three friends (this makes enough for four dinner-sized portions) and watch some Winter Olympics!
Ingredients for the crispy tofu:
- 1 lb extra firm tofu (or mushrooms or tempeh, or just leave off the tofu all together and have a cold bowl)
- ½ cup tamari or soy sauce (be sure it’s GF if need be)
- 2 T agave or maple syrup
- 2 T rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 1 T toasted sesame oil (or any high-heat oil, but sesame really makes the flavor great)
- ¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder, ginger powder, and onion powder
Ingredients for pickled veggies:
- 2 large carrots
- 1 small daikon radish (or just use 8 or 10 small red radishes, they are just harder to slice!)
- ½ cup of rice vinegar
- 2 T dry sugar (like turbinado)
- 1 t salt
- 1 head of Nappa cabbage (or other type of cabbage), thinly sliced (you want about 10 cups)
- 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced (any color, I like one red and one yellow to make the dish colorful)
- 1/2 cup each (unpacked) of chopped cilantro, chopped mint, and chopped basil (this seems like a lot, but I feel like the fresh herbs really give the dish an amazing flavor, you can use less and you can use any combo of fresh herbs you like, though these do give it the Bahn Mi vibe)
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1-2 cups fresh bean sprouts
Ingredients for dressing:
- 1/4 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter (or another nut butter)
- 1/2 cup of the pickling liquid (or more if the dressing is too thick)
- 2-3 T of the tofu marinade
- Sriracha to taste (I use about a teaspoon)
For the pickled veggies (do this first):
- Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt.
- Slice carrots and daikon radish super thin (I like to use my mandolin for this since it never gets used, but you can do it by hand easily enough, just get them as thin as you can).
- Pour liquid over veggies in a bowl and let sit on the counter, tossing periodically, while you make everything else.
- Press 1 lb of extra firm tofu (I prefer sprouted) for an hour, drain off excess liquid, slice into 10 one-inch strips, lay in glass casserole.
- Whisk marinade ingredients until incorporated.
- Cover tofu with marinade and let sit at least 30 minutes, flipping periodically (overnight is ideal if you are planning this meal ahead).
- Bring a cast iron skillet to medium heat.
- Lay tofu slices in a single layer in pan (you probably don’t need to add oil as there is some in the marinade).
- Cook until brown and crispy on each side (10-ish minutes per side).
- Very thinly slice your cabbage, bell peppers, and green onions and place in a very large bowl.
- Wash, dry, and chop your herbs and add them.
- Add the bean sprouts
- Toss well.
To assemble everything:
- Pour the dressing over the slaw mix and toss well.
- Divide into four large bowls.
- Top with a handful of pickled veggies and 2 or 3 slices of tofu on each bowl.
- Garnish with additional fresh herbs if you’d like.
- Serve with lime slices, extra herbs, and Sriracha on the table.