Curried Tofu Banh Mi

Now that we are not living in California anymore, I get asked all the time if I miss it.  Mostly I miss living in close proximity to family and friends, but I also miss the food!  We were completely spoiled by all of the great restaurants in the Bay Area and often find ourselves missing some of our favorite places and dishes.  While we still need to do a lot more exploring of the restaurant scene around Charlotte, NC, I recently decided to try to re-create some of the dishes that we miss most from California.

The first dish I tried to recreate was a curried tofu Banh Mi or Vietnamese-style sandwich that I used to get from a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant near my office in downtown Oakland.  For just $2.50 I could get a tofu Banh Mi on a thick toasted roll, with rich curry-flavored tofu, a crisp and vinegary carrot and daikon slaw, fresh cilantro, and a few slices of spicy jalapenos.  The combination of these ingredients made for a delicious and filling lunch that kept me coming back for more.

While I didn’t quite get the flavor of the tofu right this time, this recipe is good enough to keep me going until our next trip to the Bay Area—which hopefully will be soon!

Curried Tofu Banh Mi

  • 1 walnut-sized shallot
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, sliced into 16 slabs
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small thin sticks
  • 1 daikon radish, peeled and cut into small thin sticks
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cut into small thin sticks
  • 1 or more jalapeno, sliced thin
  • cilantro leaves
  • mayonnaise, optional
  • 4 crusty baguette-style rolls, toasted

Place the shallot, brown sugar, curry powder and soy sauce into a food processor and run until smooth.  Pour into a medium-sized bowl and add tofu slabs.  Toss to coat.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minute to overnight. 

While the tofu is marinating, mix together the carrots, daikon, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Let stand at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the tofu has had time to marinate, preheat the oven to 400°F.  Arrange tofu slabs in a single layer on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Spoon any remaining marinade over the slabs.  Bake tofu, flipping halfway through, for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and a little crisp.

Cut the toasted rolls in half lengthwise.  Spread one side of the roll with mayonnaise (if using); place two tofu slabs on the bottom half of the roll; top with carrot and daikon mixture, cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeño slices.  


Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:

Recipe Report Card Notes About Recipe Ratings

Tasty Rating


Four Chefs (Delicious!)

I might do a little more tweaking of the tofu marinade (and perhaps marinate it for longer), but over all this was one good sandwich.

Easy Rating


Three Easy Chairs (Average Difficulty)

Not quite as easy as picking up a sandwich at a restaurant, but not too difficult.

Healthy Rating


Four Apples (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise)

Skipping the mayo and putting the sandwich on a whole-wheat roll would make it healthier, but not quite as authentic.

Green Rating


Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)

The carrots and radish were local and organic and most, but not all, of the remaining ingredients were organic.
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