There are only about 1,000 different taco places here in OKC. Tacos are currently Oklahoma City’s “it” food, if you know what I mean.
Hey—I’m not complaining. I love tacos. My current taco obsession is Torchy’s down in Norman. Their tuna tacos are out of this world.
I don’t make tacos as much anymore and I feel like that needs to change. I thought I’d let my creative juices fly on a new type of taco to get out of my taco-less rut. Plus, I really needed something good to go with this Texas Tabbouleh I made yesterday.
Enter: Vietnamese food. Okay…so that’s two vastly different cuisines, Mexican and Vietnamese. But they’re not all that different, you see. Vietnamese food puts an emphasis on different flavor profiles like sour, spicy and sweet. Mexican food is almost the same way.
So I decided to combine the two and make some banh mi tacos. I don’t know how to make char siu (Cantonese barbecued pork) that is typically found on banh mi, so instead I opted for a caramelized-type chicken thigh.
I just want to go ahead and profess my love for chicken thighs, the most underrated chicken part. Everybody always uses chicken breast for everything, but hello! Chicken thighs are way more flavorful. And tender. And better. And everything.
Anyway, to make a banh mi a banh mi, I needed to top my tacos with fresh and crispy veggies: cucumber, carrots, jalapeno slices, and cilantro. I made a quick-pickled onion to kick the sour flavor up a notch. Also, no taco would be complete with out a spicy sauce, like salsa, so I made a Sriracha mayonnaise to drizzle on top.
These tacos are pretty much a party in your mouth. Seriously. Vietnamese/Mexican fusion is a fantastic combo, but you should try these to decide for yourself!
Chicken Banh Mi Tacos
Vietnamese tacos filled with crispy chicken thigh meat, cilantro, cucumbers, pickled onion and carrots and topped with Sriracha mayonnaise.
For the Chicken meat
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/3 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 TBS. sambal oelek
- 2 TBS. olive oil
For the Sriracha Mayonnaise
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 TBS. Sriracha
- 1 TBS. rice vinegar (un-seasoned)
- 1 TBS. sugar
For the Pickled Onion
- 1 red onion, cut into thin slices
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 TBS. sugar
For the Tacos
- Flour tortillas
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1/2 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro
- In a small bowl, stir together fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Place chicken thigh pieces in a large bowl along with jalapeno, garlic and sambal, and then pour fish sauce mixture over. Stir so chicken is well coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Make the Sriracha mayo: In a squeeze bottle, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and Sriracha. Shake until well combined.
- Make the quick-pickled onion: In a large bowl, combine onion slices with vinegar and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Heat 1 TBS. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off marinade from chicken and cook 1/3 of the chicken until browned, crispy and slightly caramelized on one side, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a bowl and continue cooking in small batches, adding more oil if needed.
- Make the tacos: Warm up flour tortillas and spoon chicken mixture inside. Top with carrots, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Drizzle Sriracha mayonnaise over the top.
In a small bowl, stir together fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. In a large bowl (or marinating pan, like I used) place chicken meat, jalapenos, sambal oelek and garlic. Pour fish sauce mixture over the top and stir until chicken is well coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Make the pickled onion: In a large bowl, combine onion, red wine vinegar, and sugar. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat 1 TBS. olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Drain marinade off chicken and cook 1/3 of the chicken in hot oil. Cook until chicken is browned, crispy and caramelized on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Continue cooking chicken in batches.
Make the Sriracha mayonnaise: In a squeeze bottle, combine mayo, rice vinegar, sugar and Sriracha. Shake until well combined.
Make the tacos: Spoon chicken into warmed flour tortillas and top with cucumber, carrots, jalapeno, cilantro, pickled onion and then drizzle with Sriracha mayo.