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Homemade Coconut Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches

Our local Vietnamese restaurant, Sunday in Saigon, has the best Chicken Banh Mi sandwiches. They are so good that I order them often. So often they know my name. And when this happens, I generally decide that maybe I should also learn to cook this meal – and here we are!

The best homemade sandwich!! Homemade Chicken Banh Mi with coconut marinated chicken and pickled veggies!

Homemade Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches 

Listen, there is a lot going on to achieve the level of flavor and deliciousness that comes in a banh mi. We have the dressing and the pickled veggies and the fresh herbs and the perfectly tender and umami-flavored chicken. It can feel like a lot to take on, so this is how I prepare this meal:

Night before: marinate the chicken. 

Day of (right around lunch time or when I have 15 minutes to spare): make the dressing, pickled veggies, and chop the fresh herbs. For the quick pickled veggies, I use the julienne blade side of my vegetable peeler to create the most perfect little strips. This is truly the most magical little vegetable peeler.

The best homemade sandwich!! Homemade Chicken Banh Mi with coconut marinated chicken and pickled veggies!

Dinner time: grill the chicken and assemble!

Also, a very important PSA, this chicken absolutely SHINES when it is grilled. There is just no comparison in flavor, but if you do not have a grill, I have the stovetop method for you; just please be sure to follow the instructions. 

The best homemade sandwich!! Homemade Chicken Banh Mi with coconut marinated chicken and pickled veggies!

As for the bread, I tried so many different kinds of bread. The bread my local Vietnamese shop uses is both crusty on the outside and also soft and chewy on the inside. A typical skinny French baguette seemed too skinny and not soft enough on the inside. I also tried ciabatta bread and that worked fine. But the bread that absolutely made this sandwich come together are the baguettes you buy and warm up at home. I found these at Whole Foods, my local grocery store, and Target.

The best homemade sandwich!! Homemade Chicken Banh Mi with coconut marinated chicken and pickled veggies!

Bringing this sandwich together is much less intimidating when it’s broken down into these steps over the course of 24 hours. The best part is we usually have some leftover veggies, dressing, and fresh herbs that I use on other dishes throughout the week! 

I hope this sandwich makes all your sandwich dreams come true like it has for me!

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Homemade Coconut Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches

These homemade bahn mi sandwiches with marinated coconut chicken and pickled vegetables are perfect for weeknight meals, or even as a grab and go lunch for a picnic or hike!

  • Author: Bri McKoy
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x

Ingredients

Scale

 

For the chicken and marinade:

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • Juice from 2 small limes

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the Quick Pickled Veggies:

  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, julienned  
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Serve with:

  • Slices of jalapeño (optional)
  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Green onions
  • Crusty baguette or lettuce wrap

Instructions

For the Marinade:

  1. Combine all ingredients for the marinade and add to a large dish or ziplock baggie. Add the chicken thighs. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight, or for at least 2 – 4 hours.

For the Dressing:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine. Place in the refrigerator. Can be made up to several hours or days in advance. Will last in the refrigerator for up to 12 days.

For the Quick Pickled Veggies:

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, julienne (long thin slices) the carrots and the cucumber (you can do this by using the julienne blade side of the peeler and just running it down the length of the carrot and cucumber).
  2. Add to a small dish and add the rice wine vinegar. Mix to combine. Set in the refrigerator. Can be done several hours or days in advance. Will last in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Grill Method:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Rub the grill down with oil. Be sure to remove any excess marinade from the chicken thighs. Place thighs on grill. Close lid.
  2. Grill for 4 – 5 minutes. Flip and grill for another 4 – 5 minutes with the lid closed. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
  3. Add to plate and cover with foil to rest for about 5 minutes and slice.

Stovetop Method: (The marinade on this chicken really does best when it is grilled, but if grilling is not an option, please follow these tips and instructions.) 

  1. In a large non-stick sauté pan, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. While the pan is heating, take a large plate and lay down some paper towels. Remove your chicken from the marinade onto the paper towel. Cover with another sheet of paper towel to remove the excess marinade from the chicken (this step is important as the marinade has sugar in it and it is quite heavy – the chicken will not will not cook properly without this step).
  3. Once the sauté pan is heated, add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 4 – 5 minutes.
  4. Place the chicken on a plate and cover with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes and slice. 

To Assemble:

  1. If you are using the bread I recommend in the post (a baguette you can bring home and bake), follow the package instructions to heat it up. Cut each baguette in half and then slice down the middle, making sure not to slice all the way through the bread.
  2. Add a good dollop of the dressing and spread all on the inside of the bread, then add the sliced chicken followed by the fresh jalapeños (optional), the pickled vegetables, and the fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, and green onions). 

The best homemade sandwich!! Homemade Chicken Banh Mi with coconut marinated chicken and pickled veggies!
4 comments
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  • AmySeptember 12, 2021 - 2:01 pm

    Bri, you’ve created a flavor bomb—and definitely my new favorite sandwich! It’s the perfect balance of zing and zip, and texturally a dream (I love a crunchy sandwich). I used chicken breasts and Against the Grain GF baguettes with excellent results. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe with us!ReplyCancel

  • BrigetteSeptember 23, 2021 - 3:14 pm

    Hi! I made these for dinner last night and they were amazing!! I usually send leftovers with my husband for lunch the next day but these leftovers are all for me. I have a friend who is a vegetarian- do you think this could be made with tempeh?ReplyCancel

    • Bri McKoyOctober 4, 2021 - 6:21 pm

      I am so glad you enjoyed these! And yes, I personally have not made them with tempeh but our Vietnamese shop does have a tempeh option so I think it would be delicious!ReplyCancel

  • RobinOctober 4, 2021 - 10:18 pm

    Love this sandwich! Making this for dinner – again! My teen daughter loves this too,  and will pack the ingredients and assemble the sandwich at school for her lunch! That’s high marks, Bri! Using a rotisserie chicken is our secret shortcut 🙂ReplyCancel

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Welcome! I'm Bri! Accidental home cook. Lover of gathering people around a table over a meal. Author of Come & Eat (September 2017). What I really want is to pull out a chair for you at my table. But until then, I hope you stay awhile and enjoy my stories + recipes!

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