Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thai Peanut Coconut Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches - Gluten-Free Version, Too!

Whether you call them hoagies, subs, grinders or any other iteration of the classic, substantial sandwich-on-a-roll most Americans take for granted as a God given right, we gluten-free folk yearn to once again sink our teeth into that long remembered gustatorial delight. Good crusty bread in the form of a roll is something we haven't been able to enjoy in a long, long time. Until. I found Udi's French baguettes and French rolls in the freezer section of Naturally Soergel's. The crunchy exterior-ed, soft interior-ed bread virtually demanded I make a hoagie with it...well, it would have had it spoken to me and frankly, I think it did!

My first hoagie in...well, since I had to go gluten-free nine years ago...HAD to be special. I searched my memory bank for sandwiches I'd lusted over for a while - cheesesteaks with mushrooms, peppers and onions, the classic Italian cold cut with a drizzle of dressing, a good old saucy meatball sub with melted provolone oozing out the ends. Sigh.

While every one of those long lost, delicious pleasures from the past sounded like it would more than fill the bill, the one sandwich I'd not been able to sample - and had been dying to try - was one of Lucy's Banh Mi sandwiches from her stand outside Bar Marco in the Strip District. THAT is what I wanted! So that's exactly what I made at home as I imagined Lucy's to be.

Starting with a sliced-open Udis baguette, I first layered on a couple of thin slices of hot pepper cheese, then a pile of sweet, tart and crunchy Green Curry Broccoli Slaw (the same slaw Kimber posted right here on Dinner Plan-it back in March of 2012), then a couple of grilled Thai Peanut & Coconut Chicken Tenders, a sprinkle of cilantro leaves and voila(!), my long-awaited banh mi masterpiece was a reality. The best part of all? It was everything I'd imagined and MORE!

Break out the grill, bust out the hoagie rolls and get ready to enjoy one of the best sandwiches EVER...gluten-free or not.

Thai Peanut Coconut Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches
 (Gluten-free Version, Too)

  • 1 3/4 pounds chicken tenders, raw...not the frozen breaded stuff
  • 1/4 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C lite coconut milk
  • 1 T Thai red curry paste - I use the roasted kind, feel free to use the regular red or even go wild and use the green!
  • 4 cloves garlic - pressed or minced
  • 1 t ginger - yep, the powdered stuff in the little bottles
  • 1 lime - first zest it and THEN cut it in half and juice it
  • 1 T maple syrup - the REAL stuff, not the pancake syrup...or even use agave syrup
  • 1 T fish sauce

  •  1 Udi's gluten-free French baguette or a regular baguette if you don't have to worry about gluten -- sliced open lengthwise, but not all the way through...leave a hinge at the back!
  • broccoli slaw -- see the recipe
  • pepperjack cheese slices
  • fresh cilantro leaves

In a large zip top plastic bag, put all the marinade ingredients peanut butter through fish sauce, seal and smoosh it all together until the mixture is completely blended. Add the chicken tenders, squeeze out all the air and seal securely. Put the bag into a bowl big enough to catch any drips that might happen and put into the fridge for at least 2 hours4 is better.

While the chicken is marinating, make the broccoli slaw.

Start the grill and when its good and hot, put on the marinated chicken tenders. Grill until beautifully browned and cooked through. Remove.

Now it's time to make the sandwiches! Open the baguette and lay on a few slices of pepperjack cheese in a single layer. Then spoon on some of the broccoli slaw, then the grilled chicken and finally garnish with a few cilantro leaves. Close the baguette, slice into individuals portions and serve.

NOTE: I like to serve these with Japanese Cucumber Salad for a crisp, refreshing, tart and spicy side.

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