Anna Jones’ recipes for New Year’s Eve banh mi and lemongrass and ginger margaritas | The modern cook

I’m not a canapes person. They are fiddly, just one bite and there is only ever one vegetarian tray, which is always on the other side of the room … I could go on. If I am at a party, I want food that does a few things: fills me up, is bright and enlivening, can be eaten with my hands and helps soak up some of the wine I plan to drink. A banh mi is my dream party food: crunch from some fresh veg, punch from the sriracha, crisp-edged tofu and that all important sustenance from the baguette, which holds it all in. With this in one hand and a lemongrass margarita in the other, I’ll be the last one on the dancefloor.

New Year’s Eve banh mi (pictured above)

You don’t want a fancy sourdough baguette here: crusty baguettes are not a banh mi’s friend. You want the lightest, softest, airiest baguette you can get your hands on. There are bakeries that make Vietnamese-style baguettes specifically for banh mi, so if you can get your hands on them, hats off to you. You can make the veg, mayo and tofu (keep the tofu warm in a low oven) ahead of time, and put the baguettes together as needed.

Prep 25 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

For the veg
100g radishes, sliced into thin matchsticks
½ green apple, sliced into thin matchsticks
¼ cucumber, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 medium carrot, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
15g pickled ginger, plus 2 tbsp of the pickling juice

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For the sriracha and lime mayonnaise
150g good mayonnaise
1 tbsp sriracha
Juice and zest of ½ lime

For the tofu
Sesame oil
250g firm tofu, sliced into 2cm strips
1 tsp runny honey or agave
3 tsp sesame seeds
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
1 small bunch coriander, roughly chopped

To serve
1 large, soft and fluffy baguette
1 small bunch coriander, leaves picked
1 small bunch mint, leaves picked

Mix all the veg ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise ingredients, then set aside ready to assemble later.

Put two tablespoons of sesame oil in a large, nonstick frying pan, then fry the tofu for about five minutes, until crisp and golden on all sides.

Turn off the heat, then add the honey, followed by the sesame seeds, and toss to coat the tofu. Now add the lime juice and zest, with a good pinch of flaky sea salt and the coriander.

Warm the baguette in the oven, then cut in half lengthways, making sure that you don’t slice all the way to the bottom. Spread the top and bottom with a layer of the sriracha mayo, followed by a layer of the pickled veg, then the tofu. Finish with a handful of coriander and mint leaves, then cut into quarters and serve while the tofu is still warm.

Lemongrass and ginger margaritas

Anna Jones’ lemongrass and ginger margaritas

Anna Jones’ lemongrass and ginger margaritas.

You can multiply this recipe up – keep the mix in a jug, then pour into glasses over ice as you need.

Prep 10 min
Cook 5 min
Makes 4

200ml apple juice
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 thumb-size piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks lemongrass, halved lengthways and bashed at the root
100ml freshly squeezed lime juice (about 6 limes), plus lime slices to serve
200ml tequila

Put the apple juice, agave, ginger and lemongrass into a small pan, and simmer on a low heat for five minutes. Leave to cool completely in the pan, then pour through a sieve into a jug.

Add the lime juice and tequila, then pour into salt-rimmed glasses with ice and a slice of lime.


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