until last week, one of my greatest stresses about living in the middle of nowhere centered on a root vegetable: the daikon. the happy cute radish that is an essential part of a bánh mì is something i sort of just concluded was a unicorn to my tiny town. i have made many grumpy faces about this, being all jealous of new yorkers and their jewelry store bánh mìs and chicagoans and their ba le shops everrrrywhere. i have considered different options for how to live without it. (should i make a bánh mì but leave it out? should i sub a sugar beet? should i hop on an airplane right now?)
and then a few days ago at the local brightly lit grocery store called hugo, there he was, next to the celery root, staring me right in the eye and waiting for me to take him home. i got all bright-eyed and butterfly tummied and then i picked him up as carefully as if i were handling a dragon egg, gingerly placed him in the cart, and then took him home and gobbled him up.
this is how i ate him: quick pickled, on brown basmati rice, covered in sriracha mayo, accompanied by all the essential bánh mì fixins, and with a spoon (i lost my patience with the chopsticks), while i watched the cristina pato tiny desk concert. side note: the transition back into a life without olympics constantly streaming in the background is sad and weird, but i am coping with plenty of tiny desk concerts.
i made a bowl so that it could be eggboy friendly and also because i have yet to conquer the perfect bánh mì baguette. baby steps, baby steps.
lemongrass chicken bánh mì bowls
makes two servings
for the chicken:
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tb soy sauce or tamari
1 tb sesame oil
2 chicken breasts
for the daikon/carrot slaw:
(adapted from the kitchn)
1 c julienned daikon
1 c julienned carrots
a big pinch of salt
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c white vinegar
1 c water
2 c cooked brown rice (i used basmati, but really any kind will do)
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
some thin slices of cucumber
sriracha mayo (1/4 c mayo + 1 tsp sriracha, or more if desired)
hoisin sauce, to taste
a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
mix together the lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil. rub it all over the chicken and let the chicken marinate in the fridge for half an hour. immediately make the slaw.
for the slaw, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and then refrigerate until ready to use. (you want it to sit for at least half an hour.)
once the chicken is done marinating, slice it thinly and then cook in a little olive oil over medium heat.
to assemble your bowls, drain the slaw, and then on a bed of rice, layer the chicken, slaw, and remaining fixins as desired.