Malai's ham and egg banh mi (photography by Kevin Marple)

Chef Sandwich: Malai’s Braden Wages

Braden Wages, chef/owner of Malai, likes banh mi sandwiches (photography by Kevin Marple)
Braden Wages, chef/owner of Malai, likes banh mi sandwiches (photography by Kevin Marple)

Chefs in Dallas are known for their ability to make Disney magic using simple ingredients, but we wanted to know what, exactly, makes them tick. What sandwich could they eat over and over again? We asked them to make a sandwich and give us the recipe for it. Here, chef and owner of Malai, Braden Wages, shares a banh mi recipe that makes us wish we could be making this in our kitchen right now. Check out his submission:

During a trip with my wife to Southeast Asia, I had a life-changing sandwich experience in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. We stumbled upon a rickety motor bike that doubled as a food cart. Right in front of us, the cook assembled the best banh mi I’ve ever tasted. Banh mi is a common street food; what set this one apart was the fried egg and perfectly crisp baguette. In my opinion, the key to any great sandwich is the bread. If it’s bad, your sandwich is doomed.

This sandwich struck such a chord with me that we decided to serve our version of it on our brunch menu. Our take includes thinly sliced ham, fried eggs, house-made Sriracha and aioli, fresh herbs, and, of course, great bread (we get ours from Quoc Bao Vietnamese Bakery in Garland).

Ham and Egg Banh Mi with Spicy Aioli (1 sandwich)

Bahn mi ingredients:

1 loaf of bread (approx. 8″). Heat in oven and slice in half
2 eggs, pan scrambled
6 thinly sliced ham
4 cucumber slices, cut lengthwise as thinly as possible.
*English/Hot house cucumbers are better
8 Thai basil leaves
12 cilantro leaves, pulled with some tender stems
2 Tbsp fresh aioli
1 Tbsp Sriracha

Spicy Aioli sauce:

2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp tahini (or dijon)
1 Tbsp Sriracha
¾  cup vegetable oil

Aioli preparation:

With counter mixer, add egg yolks and all other ingredients except oil.  Turn to high and slowly pour in oil. Mix for approximately 3 minutes.

Sandwich Preparation:

  1. Lightly toast the bread
  2. Spread aioli and sriracha on both sides
  3. Layer ham on the bottom half
  4. Layer cucumbers, Thai basil leaves, and cilantro on top of ham
  5. Top with fried egg
  6. Slice in half and enjoy!

Lonny Alfred is a former D Magazine intern with a penchant for hole in the walls, pork buns, and anything Korean.