Mar 7, 2016

Lemongrass Steak Banh Mi Sandwich

Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Marinated steak served with pickled vegetables, cilantro and more for a non-traditional version of a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich.

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I love any kind of fusion food; Korean tacos, ramen burgers, BBQ nachos, cronuts, you name it – but this marinated steak banh mi sandwich is one of my favorites. While not traditional the steak makes for a flavorful sandwich with the pickled vegetables. Banh mi sandwiches themselves are a fusion food. The pickled carrot and daikon, combined with cilantro and jalapeños are Vietnamese, but the baguette, mayonnaise (and often addition of pâté) are French.

Banh mi sandwiches are typically made with roast pork though I had one with beef recently and loved the flavor combination. I don’t typically like chunks of steak on my sandwiches. You take a bite and you feel like you’re in a fight with the sandwich – the whole piece falls out and then you’re left with an empty sandwich. It’s not graceful. This meat is not like that. The beef is extremely tender from being marinated so you can actually take bites out of it like a normal sandwich. While marinating for a day seems like a long time, it is worth the wait. The marinade for this steak is made from a combination of soy sauce, fish sauce, olive oil, lemongrass, vinegar, honey, ginger and garlic.

Lemongrass Steak Banh Mi Sandwiches

Marinated steak served with pickled vegetables, cilantro and more for a non-traditional version of a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Steak – I use flank steak for this recipe. This cut comes from the bottom abdominal part of the cow. Because of the location it is lean with hard-working muscles and creating tougher fibers. Marinades are great for this cut because they help to tenderize the meat and break down some of those fibers. Because it is a lean, wide cut it’s great for searing or grilling. Be sure to slice it against the grain. It can easily be substituted for skirt steak.
  • Fish sauce – I love the funky umami flavor fish sauce adds to any dish. It’s a great way to enhance the flavor of curries or even chicken wings. The flavor comes from a process of fermenting fish over a long period of time.
  • Daikon radish – Daikon has a sweet, lightly spicy flavor. It’s frequently served pickled with carrots which are frequently used as a garnish on banh mi sandwiches. Pickling them is quite simple and the can easily be made ahead of time.
  • Lemongrass – Lemongrass adds a bright, lemony flavor to dishes. Fresh lemongrass is best for this recipe since it has a more complex flavor. Pre-packaged paste or dried lemongrass can be substituted if needed. Only the bottom yellow part of the lemongrass stalk is used in cooking, the top part is typically much too tough.

How to Make Lemongrass Steak Banh Mi Sandwiches

  1. Make the marinade. In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, olive oil, lemongrass, rice wine vinegar, honey, ginger, and garlic.
  2. Marinate the steak. Season the steak on both sides with the salt and pepper then place it in an airtight container, pour the marinade over the top and turn the steak so that both sides are coated. Marinate the steak for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  3. Cook the steak. Heat a large lightly oiled skillet over medium high heat then add the steak and sear on both sides.
  4. Slice the meat. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let the meat rest. Thinly slice the meat and set aside.
  5. Prep the vegetables. Add the daikon and carrots to a bowl and toss with the salt and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Use your hands to massage and squeeze the vegetables until they have reduced in size. Rinse the vegetables in a fine mesh strainer under cold water then return to the bowl.
  6. Pickle the vegetables. In another medium bowl combine 1 cup of cold water, the remaining sugar and vinegar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the daikon and carrots then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before using and up to 4 weeks. When ready to use remove the vegetables from the brine.
  7. Crisp the bread. Preheat broiler to high heat. Slice each baguette lengthwise and lightly butter on both sides. Place on a cookie sheet and broil until the bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  8. Assemble sandwiches. To assemble the sandwiches, spread about a tablespoon of mayonnaise on the bottom half of each baguette, then top with a layer of cucumber then jalapeños followed by a layer of beef then pickled carrots and daikon then cilantro.
  9. Serve. Sprinkle the top with a little soy sauce then close the baguettes. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Lemongrass Steak Banh Mi Sandwiches

Print Pin
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the lemongrass steak:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds flank steak

For the pickled vegetables:

  • 1 large daikon radish, peeled and julienned
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon plus ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup white vinegar

For the sandwich:

  • 2 French baguettes, trimmed and halved so they are each about 10”
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Instructions:

For the lemongrass steak:

  • In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, olive oil, lemongrass, rice wine vinegar, honey, ginger, and garlic.
  • Season the steak on both sides with the salt and pepper then place it in an airtight container, pour the marinade over the top and turn the steak so that both sides are coated. Marinate the steak for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  • When ready to cook the steak, let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Heat a large lightly oiled skillet over medium high heat then add the steak and sear on both sides, about 5 minutes each side (depending on thickness), until the meat registers an internal temperature of 140°F, medium doneness.
  • Remove the steak to a cutting board and let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes. Thinly slice the meat and set aside.

For the pickled vegetables:

  • Add the daikon and carrots to a bowl and toss with the salt and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Use your hands to massage and squeeze the vegetables until they have reduced to about ¼ of their size.
  • Rinse the vegetables in a fine mesh strainer under cold water then return to the bowl. In another medium bowl combine 1 cup of cold water, the remaining sugar and vinegar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour over the daikon and carrots then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before using and up to 4 weeks. When ready to use remove the vegetables from the brine.

For the sandwich:

  • Preheat broiler to high. Slice each baguette lengthwise and lightly butter on both sides. Place on a cookie sheet and broil until the bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  • To assemble the sandwiches, spread about a tablespoon of mayonnaise on the bottom half of each baguette, then top with a layer of cucumber then jalapeños followed by a layer of beef then pickled carrots and daikon then cilantro.
  • Sprinkle the top with a little soy sauce then close the baguettes. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

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  1. We used fish sauce on pork and and soy sauce on beef. The fish sauce would changed the taste of beef. Other alternative, we used American BBQ brisket (re-seared at high heat with oil and lemon grass extract for 1 minute) and served our customer in the same manner.

  2. Thank you so much for posting a fabulous recipe! Right now, I just wanna grab the sandwich through the screen, lol. I can’t wait to make this and devour it! I always enjoy making my own banh mi sandwich because in my area (Rochester, NY) only serves pork banh mi’s and I don’t eat pork.

    • My apologies Fasi, I have made that correction to the recipe. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Add a layer of the beef after the cucumber and jalapeño when assembling the sandwich. Enjoy!