Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bánh mì inspired Tacos/Lettuce Wraps

A while back the Food Network had this show called The Great Foodtruck Race. Different food trucks (think taco truck, but these trucks served gourmet food like crepes and Vietnamese fusion) competed against each other to become the best foodtruck in America. One of the competitors was called The Nom Nom truck and they served fusion Vietnamese food. One dish that I saw them make was a sandwich called Bánh mì.

Another thing they serve from the Nom Nom truck are Vietnamese tacos yummmm yumm. They looked so good that I had to try and make my own version! A Bánh mì has multiple parts including marinated pork, veggies, special bread and a diakon and carrot pickle. So, though I spent a good amount of time prepping, it ended up being totally worth it! I decided to make a chicken Vietnamese tacos for Brian, instead of pork (I happened to have chicken on hand) and lettuce wraps for me! Cutting carbs is a good way to get back on track after those.... heavy holidays. :]

Bánh mì inspired Tacos

You'll need:
Daikon/carrot pickles (Do Chua)
Recipe from Viet World Kitchen
2 medium carrots
1 diakon (about 1 pound)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp and 1/2c sugar
1 1/4 c distilled white vinegar
1 c warm water

Marinated Chicken
roughly 2 boneless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenders) 
3 tbs hoisen sauce
2 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs honey
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice

Tacos/lettuce wraps
flour tortillas (Brian ate three!)
Large lettuce leaves
1 cucumber
1/2 red onion
one small bunch cilantro
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 tsp siracha
1/2 tsp hoisen sauce
1/2 tsp lemon juice

I strongly recommend making the daikon/carrot pickles the night before, or at least one hour before serving this fabulous meal. The longer the daikon and carrots sit in the brine, the yummier they become. First, peel the carrots and daikon so that there is no skin left. Rinse, and chop into small matchsticks.

Next, place the matchsticks into a bowl and sprinkle the salt and 2 tsp of sugar. "Knead" (stir and squish around with your hands) them until they loose a good amount of water, for about three minutes. I know, I know... three minutes!?! Get over it- SO worth it.  After that, stick everything into a colander and let the excess liquid drain out. You can even press it down a little to get the excess out. Set this aside, and grab another bowl. Mix together the remaining 1/2 c sugar, vinegar, and warm water.

Put the drained matchsticks into a jar, and fill it to the top with the brine. The brine should cover the veggies all the way. Stick it into the fridge for at least one hour. The recipe I used said that these will keep for up to four weeks, but I seriously doubt that they'll last that long.

Now, let's move on to the chicken. Combine the hoisen sauce, oyster sauce, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice into a large ziptop bag. Place the chicken into the bag, seal it, and squish it around until all of the chicken is thoroughly covered. Place this in the fridge and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

While the chicken was marinating, I took the opportunity to do the rest of the prep work. First, I made the sauce for the tacos. Take the sour cream and put it into a bowl with the siracha, hoisen sauce, and lemon juice. Mix it all together and set aside.

Next, prep the rest of the veggies. Chop the cucumbers into small slices, chop the red onion paper thin, roll about three lettuce leaves together and chop into thin strips, and wash off the cilantro.

Ultimately, the spread should end up looking something like this:

Okay, now: once the chicken is done marinating, put a nonstick pan onto medium heat. Add a little vegetable oil, and add the chicken. Cook over medium heat and make sure to turn the chicken over to get the yummy crusty effect on both sides. Cook them until totally cooked through. Then, transfer to a cutting board and cut the chicken into thin slices.

Get ready for a bunch of pics!!!
Now, all you have to do is assemble the tacos. Spread some of the sour cream sauce onto a warmed tortilla. Then, add the chicken, lettuce, cucumber, onion, and pickles. Finally, add the cilantro and fold the tacos over- like so:

ohmygosh yuuuuuuuum!!!

For the lettuce wraps, follow a similar approach. I spread a little hoisen sauce onto the lettuce leaf along with the chicken, cucumber, onion, pickles, and cilantro. Fold it over and enjoooooy!!!!!!!

Daaannnngg. This is by far one of my favorite recipes thusfar. I am a huge fan of cilantro.... so adding this at the end was amaaazzing! Yes, it took a good amount of time to prep for this recipe, but I thought it was MORE than worth the time I spent. SO GOOOOD! I actually ended up serving this two nights in a row I liked it so much! Noomm nooomm!

Try it for yourself, and let me know how it went!

Soon to come: I'm brainstorming for a pizza request I received a little while ago, as well as thinking up new and healthy snacks! Stay tuned foodies!!!

Foodie foodie!

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