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Chicken Banh Mi - Tamarind Chicken

Chicken Banh Mi - Tamarind Chicken

4 Servings

0:20 Prep

0:40 Cook

Moderate - You'll be right

This recipe was created in partnership with Aurum Poultry Co.

Chicken may not be an obvious choice when it comes to banh mi but this homemade chicken banh mi recipe is guaranteed to change your mind. Picture chicken marylands cooked in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce until sticky and succulent, then layered into a crusty Vietnamese bread roll, lined with all your favourite banh mi relishes. For this recipe, I’ve used Aurum Poultry Co’s cockerel maryland to make for a more savoury and gamey sauce.

Chicken banh mi varies significantly between Vietnamese bakeries and I believe this is why they may not have taken off in the same way that crispy pork or other variations have. I’ll admit, my go-to for store-bought banh mi, is the traditional pork roll (bánh mì thịt) — a banh mi stuffed with cold cuts of traditional Vietnamese hams and the usual banh mi fillings — but when it comes to home-made, I’ll always opt for this tamarind chicken (bánh mì gà sốt me).

For a flavourful tamarind sauce, be sure to use chicken maryland. Bone-in chicken allows the sauce to develop a more savoury and gamey profile, especially when it’s cockerel. To balance the tartness of the tamarind, don’t forget to add sugar. As the sauce cooks, the sugar will caramelize to create the desired sticky texture.

Tamarind chicken banh mi is quite versatile and can be paired with traditional banh mi ingredients such as Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon, or simply add finely sliced lettuce and tomatoes. The hot tip is to have something fresh and crisp in the banh mi to offset the decadent sauce; adding texture to each bite.

So, if you’re yet to find a mouth-watering chicken banh mi, grab yourself some cockerel maryland and give this tamarind chicken recipe a whirl to experience banh mi on another level.

Chicken Banh Mi - Tamarind Chicken
Chicken Banh Mi - Tamarind Chicken


Chicken marinade:

Tamarind water:

  • 40g of tamarind pulp or 4 tablespoons tamarind puree

  • 150ml hot water

  • 2½ tablespoons sugar

  • ½ teaspoon anchovy salt or MSG


  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil

  • 3 cloves garlic crushed

  • 2 Thai shallots

Banh mi ingredients:

  • 4 Vietnamese bread rolls or crusty rolls

  • 78g chicken liver pate (Henaff French pate) (optional)

  • Spreadable butter/margarine

  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced lengthways

  • ½ bunch coriander (optional)

  • 2 handfuls pickled carrots or 2 grated carrots

  • 1 bunch Vietnamese fish mint, roughly chopped (optional)

  • 4 tablespoons fried shallots

  • 2 bird’s eye chillis, finely chopped


Tamarind chicken:
1. Wash and clean cockerel marylands under running water.
2. In a large mixing bowl, marinate chicken with marinade ingredients for 30 minutes. For best results leave overnight in the fridge.

Tamarind water:
1. In a small mixing bowl, add tamarind pulp and hot water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then press tamarind multiple times with a fork to extract tamarind flavour.
2. Strain into a small bowl and discard tamarind pulp.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well until dissolved, then set aside.

How to cook chicken maryland:
1. In a medium casserole pot or deep fry pan on medium, add oil, garlic and spring onion stalk, then saute until fragrant.
2. Add chicken and quickly sear both sides until lightly golden, then add tamarind water. Bring to the boil then simmer on low covered for 30 mins, occasionally turning.
3. Remove chicken and allow to cool before shredding meat off the bone. Mix through the tamarind sauce.

How to make chicken banh mi:
1. Cut open a bread roll, spread a layer of butter and liver pate (¼ can), add tamarind chicken, a tablespoon of spring onion oil, 1 slice of cucumber, coriander, and pickled carrots. Garnish with Vietnamese fish herb, fried shallots and chilli, then dress with 2 tablespoons of tamarind sauce.

Enjoyed this delicious banh mi? See my other banh mi recipes:
<Crispy pork banh mi>
<Lemongrass chicken banh mi>
<Vietnamese sardines banh mi>
<Egg banh mi>

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