Banh mi, turnip & pan-steamed spring onions

by Tom Hunt

A Vietnamese-style French baguette

Banh mi is a Vietnamese style French baguette, an utterly scrumptious fusion of cultures. The steamed spring onions really shine in this dish and work well with the fish and turmeric. Tilapia is a safe choice of fish to choose when considering fish stocks as they are well managed and not overfished.


For the spring onions:
8 spring onions
1 clove of garlic
A few slices of fresh ginger
A glug of light olive oil

For the filling:
450g tilapia, cut into cubes
½ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp of flour
1 baguette
A small bunch of dill, finely cut the thick stalks, roughly chop the tops
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 turnip, peeled and grated
1 lime


Start by washing your spring onions and trim the root and very tops if dry. Cut in ½. Heat a heavy based pan with a lid to a medium heat, add the spring onions with a splash of water, a clove of garlic, a few slices of ginger and glug of olive oil.

Replace the lid and allow to steam for five mins. Remove the lid and fry for 1 min to allow any juices to evaporate.

Toss the tilapia in the turmeric and flour with salt and pepper. Bring a frying pan to a medium heat with a glug of oil. Fry the fish for 2-3 mins till it browns, then turn and colour the other side. Add the garlic and fry for 1 min more.

Cut open the baguette, leaving a hinge but don’t prise it open. You want the baguette to hold shut when it has the ingredients in it. Stuff the baguette with the fish, dill, turnip and pan steamed spring onions. Squeeze with lime and serve.

The fish will keep in the fridge for 3 days but is best fresh.

ALTERNATIVES: Make a frittata by steaming the spring onions as above, whisk 3 eggs with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Fry gently until it’s just cooked through. Add herbs if you like.

The banh mi filling of tilapia and turmeric also makes a great summer roll filling. Cook as described above. Dip rice pancakes in water and then roll with the filling. Serve with Thai chilli sauce.

Recipe: Tom Hunt from his cookbook, The Natural Cook
Image: Laura Edwards