13 July 2012

Grilled Chicken Banh Mi & Hoisin Glazed Corn

There's only one problem with the following recipe: you're going to want to make it immediately. So, do yourself a favor, read this post, then get yourself to the store. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. It's soooo good. And while there is a lot of chopping, thanks to all the toppings, it's so worth it, and a perfect meal for these lovely summer evenings we've been having in Portland.

Again, strangely enough this recipe is from Sunset magazine. My grandma gave me a 2-year subscription last year and while I occasionally flip through it and see things I might want to try, actually motivating me to go back and shop for one of those recipes often eludes me.Chalk it up to laziness and my online subscription to Cook's Illustrated (a gift from my aunt, her daughter...what good gift givers they are!)

First, you start off with a crap load of ingredients....
After running to 4 stores earlier that afternoon and being ready to take on all this chopping, I realized I was out of hoisin and had to go back to the store....sigh.
Oooh...this basil is magic! Wish it could magically erase those bags under my eyes...yikes. 
Despite how scary my eyes are in that picture, distract yourself by looking at how adorable my new apron from Hannah is!

We also grilled some corn and zucchini. The plan was to make pizzas the next night with leftover veggies, but we were invited over to dinner at a friend's house, so that plan didn't work out...we don't normally grill this much food just for ourselves.

I wanted an Asian-themed glaze for the corn, so I used yet another recipe from Sunset! I'm on a roll. I have one issue with the recipes...the actual flavors and everything were so good, but the directions are too general if you're not an experienced griller, such as ourselves. For one, the corn, due to the sugar in the glaze, started to burn almost immediately, long before it was tender. In retrospect, I should have gone with my gut and parboiled the corn, then glazed, then grilled.

Luckily Shawn built a 2-level fire with all the charcoals on one side so we could have a "cool" side. We eventually moved almost everything to the cool side. Thank goodness we did that because we had the same issue with the chicken. We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, as directed, but those don't do too well on the grill sometimes because there's little to protect it from the heat while you cook it all the way through. And boy did we need to protect it from the heat! The glaze immediately burned on the chicken and despite Shawn oiling the grate before we started, it was glued to the grates. Anyhoo, once unsticking everything, we put it on the cooler side and finished up grilling the zucchini and bread.
The line up

Toppings (left to ride: cucumber, green onions for corn, carrots, jicama, extra dressing, herbs)
And despite all the little hiccups, I'd still make this again (and again, and again...) now that I've learned my lesson on how to handle it properly.

Spicy Hoisin and Sesame Glazed Corn
Sunset Magazine
Serves 8

1/4 cup hoisin sauce 
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
8 ears corn, husked and cut in half crosswise
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 to 1 serrano chile, minced 2 green onions, sliced thinly

1. Mix together hoisin, honey, soy sauce, and lime juice. [When charcoals are hot, build a 2-level fire leaving one side without charcoal. Heat the grate for 5 minutes, clean, then oil.]
[1.5. Boil corn for about 5-6 minutes until starting to get tender.]
2. Grill corn, turning often and basting with glaze, until glaze is caramelized and grill marks start to appear, about [4-5] minutes.
3. Transfer corn to a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds, chile, and green onions.

Grilled Chicken Bánh Mì
Sunset Magazine
Serves 4

2 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (1 1/2 lbs. total)
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
4 sandwich rolls or 1 sweet baguette, cut into 4 equal lengths and split lengthwise
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 English cucumber, cut into 2-in. matchsticks
1 medium carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
4 ounces jicama, cut into matchsticks
1 red Fresno or red jalapeño chile, halved lengthwise and sliced
Cilantro, Thai basil, and mint leaves

1. Heat a grill to medium (350° to 450°)*. With a sharp knife, halve chicken pieces horizontally almost all the way through, then open up like a book**. Put chicken in a bowl and add 2 tbsp. hoisin, the five-spice, soy sauce, and 1 tbsp. oil, tossing to coat.
2. Grill chicken, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes, then slice diagonally into wide chunks.
3. Mix remaining 2 tbsp. hoisin and 1 tbsp. oil, the lime juice, and fish sauce in a small bowl; set aside.
4. Spread the bottom of the cut side of each roll with 1 tbsp. mayo. Fill sandwiches with chicken. Top each with cucumber, carrot, jicama, chile slices, and herbs. Drizzle each sandwich with some of the reserved lime dressing (you may have some left over).

We also grilled our bread and put some mayonnaise on the inside before grilling--word is it keeps the stuff inside from soaking through the bread.

*See instructions above in corn recipe for prepping grill
**I didn't do this...may have just discovered why our chicken was burning before done...oops


  1. The corn!! Never heard of glazing the corn...and now I want some right now!!

  2. I've never tried to make a variation of a banh mi at home. I think I need to change that!

  3. Oh man, I love banh mi sandwiches SO much... Really any Vietnamese food is fine by me! I always tend to go out for it rather than making it at home, though, since it's generally so cheap AND I find that it requires so many ingredients to get the right flavors. You make it look so tempting though!

    1. I hear ya, Steph. I made pho at home once, and it was good, but it requires so many ingredients and prep, I'd rather just go get it for $5 or $6 at one the many places in Portland. The sandwiches were much easier, though. They were fun to make and I didn't have to sit in front of anyone else but my husband and make a huge mess out of myself.