Tofu banh mi with sriracha mayo

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Tofu made into an acceptable form — seasoned and baked — and combined with sweet and sour, crunchy veggies and soapy cilantro.  Served on a baguette still steaming out of the oven with a few dollops of sriracha mayo.  A super sandwich, posed much more elegantly at the Lazy Cat Kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 1 long baguette or 4 small ones (GF if gluten intolerant)
  • a wedge of cabbage, sliced finely
  • 2 small cucumbers, ribboned
  • 2 small spring onions
  • small bunch of coriander

PICKLES (make a day ahead if you can)

  • 2 carrots, ribboned/julienned
  • 3 small turnips or 15 radishes, sliced/julienned
  • ½ cup / 120 ml rice vinegar + ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 15 Szechuan (or black) peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed with a knife

MARINATED TOFU

  • 400 g firm tofu, pressed*
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 3 tsp (toasted) sesame oil
  • 2 tsp cornflour / cornstarch (optional)
  • 3 tbsp oil, for frying (optional)

SRIRACHA MAYO

  • ¼ cup / 60 ml aquafaba / chickpea water**
  • 4 tsp / 20 ml lime juice (or lemon juice or vinegar)
  • ¼-½ tsp salt, more to taste
  • ¼ tsp powdered garlic, more to taste
  • approx. 1 cup / 240 ml of mild tasting oil (canola, grapeseed, safflower or light olive oil)
  • 4-5 tsp Sriracha
  • pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Put rice vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, salt and garlic clove in a small pot and bring to the boil. Continue simmering for about 10 minutes and then immerse carrot, turnip (or radishes) in it.
  2. Mix tofu marinade ingredients: maple syrup, rice vinegar, tamari, Sriracha and sesame oil. Cut pressed tofu into smaller pieces. You can prepare it in two different ways. I like my tofu pan-fried but you can also bake it for a healthier and still very good result. If pan-frying your tofu, sprinkle it lightly with cornflour/cornstarch and fry on a small amount of hot oil until browned on both sides. Blot it with a piece of paper towel after frying. Finally, pour marinade over the tofu to flavour it. If baking, immerse the tofu pieces in prepared marinade and set the oven to 180° C / 355° F. Once the oven is ready, pop marinated tofu pieces onto a paper-lined baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes. Once baked, apply a second layer of marinade to intensify the flavour.
  3. To make a mayo, put aquafaba, lime juice, salt and garlic powder into a tall container and blend together with an immersion blender. Once combined and slightly frothy, start adding oil very slowly while blending at the same time. It should be literally trickled in (rather than poured in) so that the mayo starts to emulsify properly. Once your mayo gets all thick and creamy, season it with Sriracha, pepper and extra salt if needed. Refrigerate it (to thicken it further) while you assemble your sandwich.
  4. Cut baguettes into small pieces and toast them lightly under a grill. Fill them with a layer of pickled vegetables, fresh cucumber, shredded cabbage, spring onions, tofu and fresh coriander. Top with a dollop of Sriracha mayo before closing the sandwich.
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