Num pang is a Cambodian dish that is similar to a banh mi but has subtle differences when it comes to the type of bread and the toppings. This vegan version of num pang features fish cakes made from tofu, bread slices, hearts of palm, and dulse. Layered on top of the fish cake is a homemade chili mayonnaise, pickled carrots, cilantro, and crisp cucumber slices. You can air fry these babies or pan-fry them, as you wish, but don't skip on the toppings- they really do make this sandwich authentic and amazing.
Num Pang: Cambodian Fish Cake Sandwich [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Pickled Carrots:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup grated carrot
For the Fish Cakes:
- 3 slices bread
- 3/4 container of firm tofu, pressed 10 minutes
- 1 14-ounce can hearts of palm
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 2 scallions
- 2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon dulse
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Zest of 1 lime
- Panko bread crumbs, as needed
For the Chili Mayonnaise:
- 1/2 cup firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce (or sambal oelek)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 crusty burger buns, toasted
- Sliced cucumbers
To Make the Carrots:
- Combine the sugar, vinegars, water, and salt in a mason jar. Mix well until the sugar dissolves. Add the carrot and set aside for at least 20 minutes.
To Make the Cakes:
- Add the bread to a food processor. Pulse until ground. Remove and set aside in a large bowl.
- Add the tofu, hearts of palm, parsley, scallion, ginger, oil, coriander, dulse, cornstarch and zest to the food processor. Pulse into a coarse grind. Add to the bowl with the bread and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to firm up for 20 minutes.
To Make the Sauce:
- Combine the tofu, water, garlic chili sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small blender. Blend until very smooth, adding a little water if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To Make and Assemble the Sandwich:
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat or preheat the air-fryer. Divide the fish cakes mixture into 4 portions and press into a patty. Dredge the cake in panko crumbs and fry in oil or air-fry until crisp.
- Assemble the burgers: bottom bun, sauce, cilantro, cucumber, cake, carrot, and top bun. Serve immediately.