Banh Mi Chay

Banh Mi Chay sandwich. (Courtesy of Roopa Marcello / August 24, 2012)

Roopa Marcello grew up eating Indian food at home and sandwiches at school, but today she writes about a variety of vegetarian-friendly cuisines on her blog, Raspberry Eggplant (www.raspberryeggplant.blogspot.com). Her version of the Vietnamese sandwich banh mi chay is easy to make and adds crunch and flavor to lunch.

Makes: 2-3 servings

For the pickled carrots:

1/2 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 carrots

For the marinated mushrooms:

juice of 1/2 lime (about 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon sriracha sauce

3 portobello mushroom caps (about 6 ounces total), cut into 1-inch strips

For the sandwich:

1 large baguette

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 medium seedless cucumber

1/2 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon soy sauce

To make the pickled carrots, in a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. In the meantime, peel and coarsely shred or finely julienne the carrots, then transfer the shredded carrots to a non-reactive bowl or container. Pour the vinegar mixture over the carrots. Refrigerate overnight. (If you're in a rush, you can leave it at room temperature for an hour, but overnight is best.)

To prepare the mushrooms, mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a quart-sized plastic bag. Add the mushroom strips and marinate overnight in the refrigerator or for 1 hour at room temperature.

To assemble the sandwich, heat oven to 400 degrees F. Put the marinated mushroom strips and the marinade in a baking dish and bake until the mushrooms are soft, about 12 minutes. Let them cool for at least 5 minutes. Cut the baguette open by slicing it in half but not going all the way through. Spread the mayonnaise on one side of the baguette. Place the baguette on a baking sheet and heat it until it is crisp and lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes before assembling the sandwich.

In the meantime, cut the cucumber lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices and squeeze the liquid out of the pickled carrots.

Assemble the sandwich by arranging the cucumber slices in a single layer on the baguette, then topping them with the mushrooms, pickled carrots, and cilantro. Sprinkle the soy sauce on top and close the sandwich.

Cut into 3 or 4 sections and serve.

Courtesy of Roopa Marcello