Galangal Chicken Bahn Mi
Recipe courtesy of Diep Tran for Food Network Kitchen

Galangal Chicken Bánh Mì

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
The citrusy aromatics of galangal paired with cilantro and garlic transform an otherwise bland chicken breast into a delicious filling for this bánh mì. Galangal, ginger’s zestier cousin, is widely available at Southeast Asian markets and is worth seeking out. The various components of this recipe, such as the pickles and dressing, may be made in advance. The chicken, too, may be marinated a few days ahead of time. When you’re ready to eat, simply sear off the chicken and assemble the bánh mì.


Chicken and Marinade:


Cilantro Dressing:

Bánh Mì:


  1. For the chicken and marinade: Cut each chicken breast into 4 thin slices: Place a chicken breast on a cutting board and press your palm down on top of the breast to prevent it from moving. Position your knife parallel to the cutting board and slice the chicken horizontally in half. Using the same method, divide those breast halves in half again. Each slice should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Continue with the remaining breasts. Transfer the chicken to a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the garlic, cilantro and galangal in a mortar (see Cook's Note). Grind the ingredients with a pestle until they turn into a smooth paste. Add the oil, fish sauce, coriander, sugar and pepper. Stir to incorporate the ingredients. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  3. For the pickles: Combine the sugar and salt with 1 1/2 cups hot water in a mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, then add the vinegar, carrot, daikon and onion. Toss to coat the vegetables in the brine, then place a plate on top of the vegetables to keep them submerged in the brine. If there are bits of carrots or daikon left uncovered, wait 10 minutes for them to soften and sink into the brine. The pickles are ready in 1 hour, but will improve the longer they sit in the brine.
  4. For the cilantro dressing: Combine the mayonnaise, Maggi Seasoning, white vinegar and cilantro in a bowl. Stir to incorporate the ingredients.
  5. To cook the chicken: Add a tiny amount of oil to coat a heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add a few slices of chicken, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet. Sear the chicken until the edges caramelize, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip the chicken and sear until cooked through, another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  6. For the bánh mì: Split each baguette in half, then spread the dressing on the bottom half. Place a layer of cucumber on the dressing, then a layer of pickles. Add a few slices of seared chicken and top with a few sprigs of cilantro and slices of jalapeno before closing each bánh mì.

Cook’s Note

Don’t have a mortar and pestle? Try this hack: Put the galangal, cilantro and garlic into a food storage bag. Squeeze out all the air and close the bag. Give the aromatics several whacks with a rolling pin or the back of a frying pan until they become a paste. Carefully pour the contents into a mixing bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients. Leftover dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and pickles for up to 2 weeks. If you’re in a pinch and can’t find galangal, substitute with ginger.