I have written about banh mi sandwiches before and I have eaten and made versions of banh mi quite a few times in the past. This time I changed things up a little with some inspiration from some
weird people friends on Twitter (now known for some reason as X).
A Twitter mutual @wisconsuds and my ex-coworker Shana mind-melded and created a sandwich inspiration for me to tackle. At the time I laughed it off but when I was working on my croissant recipe a couple of weeks back, I remembered this interaction and decided there was no time like the present to get to work on a croissanh mi.
If you stop to think about this kooky sandwich idea of shoving banh mi ingredients inside a croissant, it does start to make a tiny bit of sense. The banh mi originated in Vietnam during French occupation, and it is typically sandwiched inside a version of a French baguette (in Vietnamese bánh mì = bread). Without getting too deep into the history of Vietnam or the sandwich, the croissant is also of French origin and while it’s never used for a banh mi sandwich, it is light and airy like the inside of a good French-style Vietnamese baguette.
With that said, we’ll talk a little about bread.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my croissant recipe and shared some content about them. I’m not going to write a whole lot about croissants because if you’re following along on my sandwich journey, you read about them two weeks ago. But I needed to make another batch or two before finalizing the recipe and this is a quick sandwich that I was able to put together to make with the extra croissants.
You’re probably aware, but croissants require a lot more attention to detail than regular buns or loaf bread. You must factor in the temperature of the dough a lot more and be a lot more precise in shaping and measuring the dough. I would suggest having some way to measure up to 20 inches on your counter or kneading surface and you certainly need a scale to measure your ingredients accurately.
I’ll say again that if you want to make croissants, this blog post really isn’t that helpful. But I spent a great deal of time and words a few weeks back if you really want to learn more and become a croissant baker.
Here’s my croissant recipe. Or if you aren’t a baker, you can make a croissanh mi with store-bought croissants.
One of the best things about a banh mi is the crunch and textural experience from the pickled veggies and the fresh veggies. We’re not quite to the point of talking about pickled things, so the fresh veggies are sliced cucumbers and sliced jalapenos.
It’s not required, but you should slice the cucumber about 10 minutes in advance and then salt them on a plate, cutting board, or even better, paper towels. Cucumbers hold a whole lot of liquid, and the salt will help remove some of the liquid and also season the outside of the veggie.
I made two different batches of pickled veggies for these chicken banh mi sandwiches. The first batch I made with regular radish because I waited until the last minute and had some poor planning, and I couldn’t find daikon at the store on the day that I needed to pickle the veggies. It worked just fine. The flavor and texture are about the same as daikon but one thing I did notice was that the pickling liquid would turn a bit pink. I guess you could peel the radishes first and then you might not even notice that it wasn’t daikon.
If you can get daikon radish, it is more traditional in this sandwich than regular radish for sure, but it also seems to have a slightly different texture. As I said before the regular radish will color the pickling liquid pink as well so if you can’t find daikon, peel the red radish and most people won’t know the difference.
I have made this recipe with both chicken breasts and chicken thighs. I do feel that a banh mi will work with both cuts of chicken, use what you prefer or even a mix of thigh and breast. It’s very difficult to overcook chicken thighs so that’s what I suggest but breast works just fine if you have an instant-read thermometer and keep an eye on things to be sure you don’t go over temperature.
This is a good marinade for chicken banh mi and it’s just a good marinade for chicken in general. It would be great with grilled chicken or even a pork chop. I do not have a stand-alone recipe for this marinade, but it is in the fully croissanh mi recipe below.
Croissanh mi recipe
Here are some photos of the chicken croissanh mi sandwiches that I made this week. The recipe for the whole thing (minus the croissant) is below. If you’re buying your croissants, you can make one of these sandwiches with a minimal amount of effort.
Here’s the recipe to make the croissanh mi if you already have the croissant.
Take a super flavorful chicken banh mi and add a flaky and light croissant. Yes, please. This sandwich is a riff on the traditional banh mi with a big bread swap.
Ingredients:Chicken marinade and braise
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast pieces
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 ounces carrots, peeled and julienned
- 6 ounces daikon radishes, peeled and julienned
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 croissant
- cucumbers, thinly sliced
- jalapenos, thinly sliced
- pickled veggies (from above)
- cilantro leaves
Chicken and marinade: add brown sugar, pepper, five spice powder, sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, minced garlic, and minced shallot to a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine. Add your pieces of chicken and allow everything to marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
When you are ready to cook, heat a large dutch oven or pot with a lid on high with 2 tablespoons of oil.
When the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully add each piece of chicken and sear for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip and sear for another 3 minutes. Do not discard the leftover marinade.
After six minutes of cooking, pour in the leftover marinade, reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove the lid, raise the heat back up to medium, and cook for another 5 minutes with the lid off. After five minutes as elapsed, remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board to rest before slicing.
Pickled veggies: julienne the carrots and daikon radish, slicing them into planks, and then matchstick shapes.
In a small pot over medium heat, add the rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. This is your pickle brining liquid. Bring it to a boil and then remove the pot from the heat.
Add the carrots and daikon radish to a container and pour over the pickle brine. Store these in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight.
Sandwich assembly: when it's sandwich time, combine 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise with the sriracha and oyster sauce to create a slightly spicy sandwich sauce.
Slice your croissant and toast if desired. Spread the mayonnaise and sriracha sauce into the interior of the bread.
Add slices of chicken on top of the sauce. Next, add thin slices of cucumbers and jalapenos. Top with pickled carrots and daikon radish and cilantro leaves.
Top the sandwiches with more sauce if desired. Serve and enjoy.
A more traditional chicken banh mi
I wanted an extra recipe test on my chicken marinade so after the croissants were gone, I also baked French-style sandwich rolls and cooked the same chicken with breast meat this time. My wife and I enjoyed three nights of chicken banh mi in the process.
Here’s my chicken banh mi recipe. It’s pretty much the same recipe as my croissanh mi recipe, but don’t tell anyone.
Come back for a new sandwich next week
We will most likely be reviewing an upcoming cookbook next week. I just have to find some extra minutes in the day!