Five-Spice Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches


Lemongrass is the classic seasoning for Vietnamese-style grilled pork or chicken, but chef Charles Phan likes to use fragrant Chinese five-spice powder instead. If you have fermented red bean curd, use it instead of miso for a funkier flavor. Slideshow:  Southeast Asian Recipes 

Five-Spice Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches
Photo: © Christina Holmes
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1/2 cup Asian fish sauce

  • 3 small shallots, minced

  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red miso

  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

  • 1 Thai bird chile, minced

  • 4 5-ounce, skin-on, boneless chicken breasts

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 small carrot, julienned

  • Canola oil, for greasing

  • Four 6-inch-long soft sandwich rolls, split lengthwise

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise

  • 12 cilantro sprigs

  • 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced


  1. In a large bowl, whisk the fish sauce, shallots, soy sauce, garlic, miso, five-spice powder and chile. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar with the vinegar and salt until dissolved. Stir in the carrot and let stand at room temperature until lightly pickled, about 30 minutes.

  3. Light a grill and oil the grate, or preheat a grill pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and cooked through, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400°. Using your fingers, scoop out some of the bread from the insides of the rolls. Toast the rolls in the oven for 6 minutes, until golden. Let cool slightly. Thinly slice the chicken. Divide 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise between the top and bottom of each roll and arrange the cucumber slices and chicken on the bottoms. Top with the cilantro sprigs, jalapeños and pickled carrot. Close the sandwiches and serve.

Make Ahead

Refrigerate the grilled chicken for up to 1 day; bring it to room temperature before making the sandwiches.

Suggested Pairing

Bright, ripe California Chardonnay.

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