Growing up in a little desert town in Southern California, I didn’t have much exposure to cuisines from other cultures. It wasn’t until I moved away to Northern California for college that I was able to explore Vietnamese cuisine.
I still remember trying pho for the first time as a junior at a little family-owned joint in Mountain View. It quickly became a staple in my dinner rotation. I also fell in love with rice vermicelli bowls and banh mi. I created this recipe specifically to use in vegan banh mi a few weeks back.
I rarely cook with lemongrass, but I knew it would add something special to the sandwiches. You can find lemongrass at most Asian markets; I’ve also seen it at my local Whole Foods and Sprouts. It has the most unique bright, almost fruity flavor that pairs beautifully with the ginger and garlic. Add Thai bird chilies or a couple shakes of red pepper flakes to make it spicy.
This marinade is so flavorful and easy to whip together that I made it on back-to-back days, using it in spring rolls the second time around. You can use it as your protein source in so many dishes, and I think the recipe would be great to double for your weekly meal prep, since baked tofu is so fuss-free!