Spud Sunday: Sippity Spuds

There’s this guy. Let’s call him Greg (for that, indeed, is his actual name). He is, however, also known to at least some of you as Sup from the rather excellent Sippity Sup.

A few weeks ago, the alignment of the planets was such that myself and Greg were in San Francisco at the same time. I cannot tell you how excited I was when I discovered, via Twitter, that, for a few days, we would be within a few blocks of each other. A few messages were exchanged and a lunch date set. There was some discussion of Vietnamese food and specifically bánh mì – Vietnamese-style baguette sandwiches containing, among other things, a goodly dose of sweet pickled veg, chili, coriander, mayonnaise and your protein of choice (classically pork). Greg even went as far as to wonder whether I knew that such fare would not involve much in the way of potatoes. Clearly he feared that I might suffer from a deficiency of spuds whilst on my foreign travels. The concern was touching, though he really had nothing to worry about on that front.

In the end, you could say that we met, not for lunch, but for lunches, because we followed a trip to the lovely Zuni Café with a visit to Saigon Sandwich, a little hole-in-the-wall joint, to sample some first class bánh mì. You can read what Greg had to say on the subject here but, suffice to say that, while it may have been my first bánh mì, it was most certainly not my last.

Fast forward a few weeks and I am back at home base, suffering from bánh mì withdrawal and thinking that I should, in Greg’s honour, do a Spudly take on those fine Vietnamese concoctions. My first thought was to go the route of bánh-mì-meets-chip-butty, replacing the pork with chips and the baguette with toasted batch bread and creating what might well be the world’s first bánh butty. In fact, next time I’m feeling the need for a little carb-on-carb action, I think I will make just that.

Baked potato with a banh mi twist

Baked potato with a bánh mì twist

What I made today, though, wasn’t a sandwich at all, but a baked potato stuffed with some of the things you might otherwise find gracing your typical bánh mì. A bit of an east-west mash-up you might say. It won’t ever take the place of the experience that is a visit to Saigon Sandwich, but it made for a tasty lunch all the same.

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Vietnamesey Baked Potatoes aka Sippity Spuds

For this, I took inspiration from Greg’s recipe for bánh mì, as well as browsing a few other bánh mì recipes on the World Wide Interweb.

The spuds:
  • 4 large potatoes, preferably floury
  • coarse salt
The pickled veg:
  • 125g carrot
  • 125g daikon radish
  • 300ml water
  • 75ml rice vinegar
  • 60g sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt
The rest:
  • 4 tblsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 100g cucumber
  • 1 small jalapeño chili (or substitute other fresh chili)
  • 4 tblsp chopped fresh coriander
  • freshly ground black pepper
The Steps:
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Scrub the potatoes and dry them. Prick the skin all over using a fork or small knife.
  • Sprinkle a baking tray with some coarse salt, place the potatoes on the tray and bake until tender, which should take somewhere between an hour and an hour and a quarter, depending on size.
  • While the potatoes are baking, prepare the pickled veg: combine the water, rice vinegar, sugar and salt and stir to dissolve; peel and dice both the carrot and daikon, place in a small bowl and cover with the pickling liquid. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
  • Combine the mayonnaise, fish sauce and ground coriander in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  • Dice the cucumber, chop the fresh coriander, finely chop the jalapeño.
  • When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven, cut each one in half, scoop out the cooked flesh and add to the bowl containing the mayonnaise mixture and mash the two together.
  • Drain the carrot and daikon, reserving some of the liquid.
  • Add the fresh coriander, jalapeño, cucumber, carrot and daikon to the mashed potato and stir to mix.
  • Check for salt and add more if it’s to your taste, along with a couple of twists of black pepper.
  • If you want a bit more of the pickle sweetness in the mash, you can stir a tblsp or two of the reserved pickle liquid into the potatoes.
  • Fill the baked potato shells with the mashed potato mixture and eat on their own or with other salads or maybe even with Greg’s bánh mì style roasted pork.
The Variations:
  • Though I didn’t do so this time around, I would probably add some spring onions next time and some lightly toasted and crushed peppercorns too.
  • You could grate a little garlic into the mayonnaise if you felt so inclined.
  • Though not typically bánh mì-ish, you could try adding some crushed roasted peanuts.
The Results:
  • Baked spuds for 4
Comments
  • Ooooo…nice. Using the potato in place of the bread. I like it. Loved that you used the spud skins as a bowl. Now I’ve got to make me some bahn mi.

  • What a great twist! Love the idea of the crushed peanuts too.

  • jenn: thanks – hope you enjoyed your bánh mì!

    lisaiscooking: yep, I definitely think I would try adding some peanuts next time around

  • Ah, we’ll always have Paris (I mean San Francisco)! I am honored and entertained all at the same time! Naturally I will be making this and reporting (or tweeting) back to you! I also having a feeling I might lose my balance because I feel a “stumble” coming over me. GREG

  • So incredibly cool, the creativity I’ve come to expect from this site. Totally fantastic and being a lover of both banh mi and potatoes, does it get any better?

  • Good story. :) Isn’t it fun when foodie stars align? Nice tater dish. Very unique.

  • Love the creativity ! What a culture mix !

  • Oh wow, your creativity never ceases. This is fantastic. Just as good as the original I’m sure. Speaking of which I have never had the original. I must change that soon.

  • Sounds tasty and delightful! Seems like the Asian theme is in the air this week. The French influence on Vietnamese cuisine is undeniable, and now there is a decided Irish Influence going on here, I think!

  • Greg: I fully expect that you will make this and put your own Greg-like twist on it too – this is, I think, only the beginning…

    Oyster Culture: thanks – maybe I can start a new craze here with bánh mì tailored for the Irish market :)

    Duo Dishes: it is just the best thing when foodie stars align, that’s for sure!

    Sha: thanks for dropping in and, yes, there is indeed quite an international mix going on here

    Lori: oh do try the original, definitely recommended!

    Jenni: yes, it’s all gone a bit Asian lately and, whatever the historical impacts, the French definitely had some interesting (and tasty) influences on Vietnamese eating and drinking – for which I am very thankful!

  • I actually went to Culinary School just right around the corner from here. Saigon Sandwich was a staple – not sure what the prices are today, but it was pretty cheap and delicious a few years ago.

    You are making me super homesick. The essence of San Francisco can be summed up when you put Zuni and Saigon in the same sentence!

  • Oops I forgot to say that this the most creative and delicious way I’ve seen a stuffed baked potato.

  • I definitely want to try this! So very creative, what a fabulous fusion recipe!

  • MMMMMM..what a lovely fille potato woth a twist: i love it! yummie!

  • This is seriously inspired! Before I moved to hot humid Florida I lived in the San Fransico ARea – isn’t it great?

  • I love banh mi’s so much and luckily, I’m around the corner from my favorite little hole in the wall. But filling a baked potato? Genius!

  • gastroanthropologist: thanks! It had been so long since I had lived in or even visited SF that I think I managed to fall in love with the place all over again…

    Natasha: thanks – and from one so creative herself :)

    Sophie: definitely with a twist, this one

    Carol: it is great part of the world, no doubt about that!

    kickpleat: why thank you – I just wish we had little hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese places like that here…

  • The potato is putty in your hands! This brilliant idea would never have flashed in my rice-addled brain. Just call this Spúdh Mì!

  • You are sooooo smart, oh m gee! What a brilliant idea! Two things I dearly love: bahn mis and potatoes! Heck yeah!

  • Tangled Noodle: Spúdh Mì – love it!

    Megan: why thank you – and with 2 such lovely things, what’s not to like :)

  • What a marvelous idea! I love the mash up of East meets West. Looks delicious!

  • I admit it, I am jealous…we both are of Irish decent, but me without the accent, and you met Greg…oh well, there is always Paris…LOL Okay down to the goods on the table…I love this idea and now you have me wanting to go investigate spuds with your ‘floury’ reference…I have studied them, but do not remember all the information…off to the spud library…oh, and that looks great!

  • Wow, this is so creative! And it sounds delicious!

  • Phoo-D: thanks – it is indeed a veritable mash up!

    Chef E: ’twas great to meet Greg – maybe we’ll get to do the same someday and have our own Paris :)

    Other Tiger: thank you, ma’am

  • oh lord… i love this idea. super creative. i want to go to a party and be given small versions of these for an appetizer.

  • This sounds like a tasty way to do spuds!

  • we are never full: small versions as an appetiser – I like it! Just hang on while I go and break out the fingerling potatoes :)

    kevin: thanks, I certainly thought so

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