Treat yourself to this colorful, delicious Banh Mi Bowl with Vietnamese Peanut Sauce ... it's a fun twist on the classic Banh Mi Sandwich!
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Although it can be a somewhat tricky cuisine for vegetarians (fish sauce, etc.), I absolutely love Vietnamese food.
The complex balance of sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, and sour flavors is seriously crave worthy.
One of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants here in Dallas, Nammi, serves a dish that's basically a deconstructed Banh Mi sandwich. It's super tasty, and from the minute I first tried it, I couldn't wait to create something similar at home.
This Banh Mi Bowl with Vietnamese Peanut Sauce is the delicious result!
Banh Mi Bowl with Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
This Vietnamese rice bowl features elements of the classic Bánh Mì sandwich (pickled veggies, jalapenos, and cilantro), as well as a few unique additions (jasmine rice, sauteed cabbage, tofu, and peanut sauce).
I adapted the delicious Vietnamese Peanut Sauce recipe from a Craftsy class I took recently. One of my goals this year is to learn a new cooking techniques. I've taken Craftsy classes before (check out how I learned to make cake pops), and I really enjoyed them. This time, I signed up for the Mastering Modern Sauces class, and it was awesome!
The class is broken into six video lessons and covers 17 different sauces (everything from vinaigrette to ragu), as well as ways to use them. It's easy to follow, yet thorough, and the instructor covers tons of information.
The best part is that I can watch the videos again anytime I want, or just follow the recipes that came with the class!
Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
So, let's talk about that Vietnamese Peanut Sauce ... I think you are going to love it! I've made plenty of peanut sauces before, but this one has a unique technique.
Instead of using peanut butter, like most recipes, this sauce starts with whole peanuts.
The peanuts are toasted, then ground in a food processor to make a homemade peanut butter. (If that sounds like a lot of work, don't worry. It only took a couple minutes in my KitchenAid Processor.) You finish the homemade peanut butter sauce by cooking it with the remaining ingredients.
The fresh peanuts really add a rich flavor to the peanut sauce, and I can't wait to try this technique in future recipes.
How to Make Banh Mi Bowls
This Banh Mi Bowl with Vietnamese Peanut Sauce has a few more steps than my usual recipes, but don't let that deter you from making it. Each step is very easy, and as long as you're organized, the recipe comes together quickly.
Here are the basic steps:
- Prep all the ingredients (gather the ingredients, chop the veggies, etc.).
- Make the pickled veggies (or prepare ahead of time).
- Make the peanut sauce (or prepare ahead of time).
- Start the rice.
- Once the rice gets going, start the cabbage.
- After you start the cabbage, get going on the tofu. The rice and cabbage are mainly hands off, which will allow you to focus on the tofu.
- When everything is finished cooking, assemble the bowls.
If you don't do a lot of Asian cooking, some of the ingredients for this Banh Mi Bowl with Vietnamese Peanut Sauce may be new to you. You should be able to find them at a well-stocked grocery store, but I've also included links within the recipe for the exact ingredients I used.
Okay, have I tempted you yet? Then, treat yourself and make this delicious Banh Mi Bowl with Vietnamese Peanut Sauce for dinner tonight!
Banh Mi Bowl with Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
For Pickled Veggies:
- 2 large radishes, julienned
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
For Peanut Sauce:
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons peanut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ a small red cabbage, chopped
- ¼ cup veggie broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons peanut oil
- 2 (6-ounce) packages baked tofu, cubed (any flavor)
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
Prepare Pickled Veggies:
- Place julienned radishes and carrot in a small bowl.
- Combine rice vinegar and sugar in a small pot, then bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, pour mixture over veggies. Set aside.
Prepare Peanut Sauce:
- Toast peanuts in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons peanuts for garnish.
- Add remaining peanuts to bowl of a food processor and process until you have a thick, smooth peanut butter.
- Heat peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add the garlic, chili paste, and tomato paste (watch out for splatters), and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the peanut butter, water, sugar, hoisin sauce, and fish sauce.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat, then add juice from 2 lime quarters (reserve the rest). Set aside.
- Place rice in a fine mesh strainer, then rinse rice in cold water for a couple minutes.
- Combine rice, water, and salt in a medium pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer until tender (about 18 minutes).
- Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
- While rice is cooking, heat peanut oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
- Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to oil and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), stirring constantly.
- Mix in cabbage, broth, and soy sauce.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- While cabbage and rice are cooking, heat peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add tofu to oil and cook until browned on all sides, stirring frequently.
- Divide rice between four bowls, then top with tofu, cabbage, pickled veggies, cucumber, and jalapeno.
- Drizzle with peanut sauce, then garnish with reserved peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro leaves.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Loved this Vietnamese Rice Bowl?
If you liked this tasty Banh Mi Bowl, then you'll enjoy these recipes, too!
Are you a fan of Vietnamese food, too?
P.S. You can check out all of Craftsy's cooking classes here or sign up for a free mini class (it's the perfect way to dip your toe in). I'm thinking about taking Savory Tarts, Quiches, and Galettes next ... or maybe Simple to Sensational Donuts ... decisions, decisions!
P.P.S. If you want to learn more about Vietnamese cooking, check out the Vietnamese Classics: Pho, Noodles, and Beyond class. Yum ... I need to take that one, too!