This month we’re sitting down with Catalina Mejia Angel from Catando who shares a little bit about her love for Vietnamese cuisine and her recipe for a killer banh mi.
Your banh mi was one of the most memorable things I’ve ever tried at Eat Street. What are you up to these days, and where can I try it again?
These days I’m a bit of a gastronomic freelancer. I have several projects going. I teach cooking classes at Roc 35 and Wo Kitchen, and I’m a private chef for outdoor events and for individuals. I do food styling and private consulting, creating food plans and guiding people in their home meal planning and cooking. You can follow me on Instagram @catando to see what I’m up to.
How did your love affair with Vietnamese food start?
It’s been 20 years since my first trip to Asia, but a few years ago I spent three months in India, Thailand, and Vietnam. I was really drawn to street food and spent a lot of time sampling different foods, trying to understand their flavors. For me, trying banh mi wherever I went was mandatory. Vietnamese food is my absolute favorite, and I’m still teaching people how to cook it today.
And how does your banh mi match up to the real thing?
I try to be very loyal to the ingredients, hoping that it will remind people of the way they used to eat it back home. The banh mi that I made for Eat Street is quite elaborate and required cooking the pork for 8 hours to really intensify the flavor. Today I’m providing you with a version of the recipe that is easier to make at home but still delicious.
- Cut chicken or pork into thin slices.
- Prepare the marinade for the meat, add the meat and bathe it in the sauce.
- Leave it in the fridge at least one hour or up to 24 hours for best results.
- For the pickles, mix the daikon and the carrots with vinegar, salt and sugar and set aside.
- Brown the meat in a pan in batches, so that the pan temperature does not decrease too much.
- Heat the bread in the oven until lightly toasted.
- Compose the sandwiches beginning with a light slather of mayonnaise, then add the cucumber slices, the chicken, the Vietnamese pickles, sliced fresh chile and Sriracha to taste.
- Add the cilantro and scallions for a bit of green.