Budget-busting bánh mì to beat the month-end blues

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WHAT is it about July and August that just seems to drag on forever? I swear last month was at least seven weeks long, and August is creeping along just as slowly. “Don’t wish your life away,” I was told as a child but when you’re waiting for payday you can be forgiven for this. The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association has this budget-friendly dish to ease the pain, and it could not be easier to prepare. Making an extra large jar of pickled vegetable to keep on hand for next time is a good idea too. Check out the website for more delicious mushroom recipes.

MUSHROOM BÁNH MÌ

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the pickled vegetables: 

  • 2 Tbsp sugar 
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • ½ cup / 125 ml water 
  • ½ cup / 125 ml rice vinegar 
  • 1 cup carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup daikon radish, julienned
  • 1 cup cucumber, julienned 

For the mushrooms:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms / mushroom “steaks”, sliced 
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated 
  • 4 Tbsp hoisin sauce 

To serve:

  • 4 individual soft baguettes or 2 medium – large, sliced in half
  • 4 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 tsp Sriracha 
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • Handful fresh coriander 
  • Lime wedges
  • Neutral oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Method

For the pickled vegetables:

  • Place the julienned vegetables in a large jar. 
  • Combine the sugar, salt, water and rice vinegar in a small saucepan. 
  • Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. 
  • Pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables. 
  • Press down to keep the vegetables in the liquid. 
  • Seal and place in the fridge until serving.

For the mushrooms:

  • Heat a drizzle of neutral oil in a large frying pan. 
  • Add in the mushrooms and cook on high heat until just golden brown and tender. 
  • Add in the ginger and hoisin and toss to coat. 
  • Season with a little salt and pepper. 

To build the sandwiches:

  • Slice the baguettes lengthways, slicing from the top down.
  • Spread them with mayonnaise and Sriracha. 
  • Drain veg from their pickling liquid. 
  • Fill with pickled vegetables and mushrooms, layering as you go so every bite has both. 
  • Scatter with spring onions, jalapeños and fresh coriander. 
  • Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime and enjoy!
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