Recipe: Calamari Banh Mi
Originally a Vietnamese street food with French colonial influences, banh mi has seen a rise in popularity here in the United States. Bright and tangy pickled vegetables offer a crunch that plays well with a wide variety of proteins.
Of course, ours is with calamari - a perfect substitution for the traditional pork, as it offers a similar savory, mildly salty flavor profile. Here, we fry it, but try it grilled (and grill the rolls!) for another spin.
In fact, it's a great sandwich to customize to your exact taste. Extra cilantro, no cilantro. Lots of veggies, a sprinkle of veggies. Yazu aoli or just a smear of mayo with black pepper. It never disappoints!
Yield: 12 servings
- 2.25 lb. The Town Dock Calamari Rings and Tentacles
- 36 fl. oz. buttermilk
- 4 tbsp. sriracha powder or ½ cup sriracha
- 2 cup cornstarch
- 6 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 oz. honey
- 2 cups cilantro, plucked off stem
- 12 each 6" sandwich rolls
Pickled Daikon Radish:
- 12 fl. oz. rice wine vinegar
- 12 fl. oz. water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 lb. daikon radish, julienne
- 3 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp. yuzu juice
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Banh Mi Slaw:
- 6 oz. cucumber, julienne
- 6 oz. Asian pear, julienne
- 6 oz. carrot, shredded
- 8 oz. pickled daikon, drained
- For Pickled Daikon Radish: Pickled daikon can be prepared 1-3 days before it is to be served. To prepare this pickle, combine rice wine vinegar, water, and sugar in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Bring this mixture to a simmer. Make sure the julienned daikon is in a heat resistant container, then pour hot pickling liquid over daikon. Cover immediately and let sit at room temp for 1 hour. Then place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- In a large bowl, allow calamari rings and tentacles to sit in sriracha powder/sriracha and buttermilk marinade for 45 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
- For Yuzu Aioli: Combine mayonnaise, yuzu juice, and sugar. Stir until a smooth sauce is formed. Cover and set aside in refrigerator until ready to assemble the sandwich.
- For Bahn Mi Slaw: Combine cucumber, Asian pear, shredded carrot, and pickled daikon (drained). Cover and set aside in refrigerator until ready to assemble the sandwich.
- Pre-heat fryer to 375ºF. In a large bowl, mix together cornstarch and flour to form dredging mix. Allow excess marinade to drip off calamari before dropping it into dredging mix and tossing until all rings and tentacles are evenly coated.
- Shake off excess dredge mix before dropping calamari into 375ºF for 90 seconds. Shake fryer basket to avoid calamari sticking together. Immediately toss calamari with a 2 tsp. drizzle of honey and pinch of salt.
- To assemble sandwich: Spread 1.5 tsp. of yuzu aioli on each side of sandwich roll. Place 3 oz. of sriracha honey calamari onto sandwich topped with 2 oz. of banh mi slaw and fresh cilantro.