There is a Very Important Sandwich in my life. It is the banh mi, a delectable combination of tofu, thinly-sliced carrot, daikon, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, and mint, served on a lovely French roll or baguette. There's a sweet-chili mayo option for the vegetarian crowd, and a less exciting sweet-chili sauce for the vegans. Either way, this is the sandwich of my dreams.
Using the perfect form of banh mi as a jumping-off point, I decided to make my own version using what I had in the house. This is to say that I do not mean this to be a full-scale attempt at the banh mi (though that day will come) but, rather, a devotional meal of sorts.
Vegan Banh Mi with BBQ Roast Seitan:
Seitan, augmented with 1 tsp each smoked paprika, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, cumin, salt, and pepper
3 tbsp. BBQ sauce
1 tbsp. Sriracha
1 tsbp. Hoisin sauce (optional; add more BBQ if not using)
1/4 tsp. Sambal
1 tbsp. chopped pickled ginger
1 medium to large carrot, sliced or grated very thin
One medium tomato, sliced
Begin by combining your seitan ingredients, mixing the herbs and spices in with the vital wheat gluten.
Prepare your gluten for cooking by letting it rest in a cool water bath for one hour, before kneading out the excess starch. Shape your gluten, and preheat an oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, Sriracha, Hoisin, Sambal, ginger and salt.
Cook your gluten roast on a well-oiled cookie sheet (or on well-oiled aluminum foil for easy clean-up *tip brought to you by Reynolds Wrap*) for about 10 minutes per side, then coat the roast in the BBQ sauce and let cook for an additional 10 minutes, turning as necessary.
In order to approximate a duck-like texture, I really wanted to up the crispiness of the seitan roast, so I gave it a quick fry-up before assembling my sandwich.
Prepare your veggies and herbs while the seitan is cooking/frying so that everything is ready to go once the protein is done.
Assemble your sandwich by slathering your bread in any desired sauce (I went without, having decided that the BBQ sauce was plenty flavorful), and layering the roast seitan, carrots, herbs, and tomato. You can see that I used the Olive Oil Bread as my happy bread product.