5@5 - Spice up your sandwich
April 5th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

If you can eat it, you can stack it between two pieces of bread.

Peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese are layered masterpieces in their own right, but who are we to limit the infinite works of the esteemed sandwich artist?

Ratha Chaupoly and Ben Daitz of Num Pang Sandwich Shop want to brighten up your spectrum of sandwich possibilities.

Five Ways to Spice Up Your Sandwich:

1. Find the right bread match
"The bread selection for a sandwich is of the utmost importance. Not only does it act as a transportation vehicle for whatever is inside, but it can also provide a hearty textural contrast. An important consideration when selecting bread is what the sandwich features inside.

The more moist and saucy the insides are, the more rugged and crunchy the bread needs to be otherwise one can be left with a big ol' mess before the sandwich gets off the cutting board. If your sandwiches feature an array of condiments, pickles, and moist meats, take an already relatively stiff baguette and toast it; this effectively hardens the outside of the bread and helps to keep the good stuff in."

2. Brighten it up with fresh herbs
"Fresh herbs can take your sandwich to a whole other level - it lifts it up from the fourth dimension to the fifth. You could use it as a marinade for your meat, chicken or fish, and then again in its fresh form in the sandwich.

Cilantro, basil, dill and mint are our favorites, and if you can find Cambodian or Vietnamese mint (also known as laksa mint), even better. Use it to make a spicy mint lime rub and marinate chicken in it for an awesome summer picnic sandwich."

Spicy Mint and Lime Rub
1 bunch Cambodian mint
1 cup lime juice
1/4 cup light oil (soy or corn oil)
Pinch black pepper
2 whole dry chilies
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon salt
Pinch sugar

Combine all ingredients in a blender until finely chopped. Use as a rub or marinade.

3. Salad on your sandwich
"While we love the usual tomatoes, lettuce and onions on our sandwiches, you don’t need to limit your sandwich toppings to just those standard choices. The right vegetables (and fruit!) can add a clean, crisp freshness to your savory sandwiches.

One of our favorites is sprouts – there are so many different kinds of sprouts to choose from, and we tend to go for the spicier or nuttier ones such as radish or sunflower.

The same goes for fruit - in the summer, add grilled peaches to a bacon sandwich, and glazed pork goes great with a slice of Asian pear on top."

4. Creative condiments
"Our favorite tip - we love a sloppy sandwich! Nothing’s wrong with the ol' standbys like mayo, mustard or ketchup, but consider playing around with them a bit. Add things like chili sauce (we like Sambal Oelek, but even Sriracha or Frank’s Red Hot sauce could work), horseradish, vinegar or lime juice to your favorite condiments to create a sauce that’s to your own taste.

You can put our own specialty, house-made chili mayo or chili yogurt on almost everything - sandwiches, grilled corn, veggies, etc."

Chili Soy Mayo
Makes 1 gallon

1/2 gallon soy milk
3 quarts soy oil
2 1/2 cups sambal chili paste
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon spicy mustard
Pinch black pepper

In a large bowl, combine soy milk, sugar, salt, mustard, black pepper. With a hand blender, slowly drizzle in the oil. It's very important to make sure the oil is at a slow drizzle until it begins to thicken and look like mayonnaise. Then, add oil at a slow steady stream. Let settle for 20 minutes. Add sambal and mix (add less sambal if you prefer it less spicy).

5. DIY Pickles
"Pickles make every sandwich better, and we’re constantly playing around with fun, new pickle ideas for the various seasons - from traditional quick-pickled carrots year-round to pickled ramps in the spring and pickled apples in the fall. They’re so easy to make at home, and DIY pickles can turn a regular sandwich into a party.

Just take your favorite vegetables or fruit and add them to a mix of acid (usually vinegar), sugar, salt and spices. We like adding Southeast Asian spices to our pickling mixes and toss in some coriander, ginger and cumin to taste. Sandwiches that tend to have rich proteins like grilled steak or brisket need to remain the star of the show, but finding the right pickle complement can cut through the richness and provide the perfect bright balance that make you crave your next bite."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Dishes • Sandwiches • Think

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soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. CN Red

    Your Chili Soy Mayo sounds great! Thank you guys.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  2. Cody

    For a smaller batch of vegan mayo that's easier to make (if you have a hand immersion blender), check out this: http://veganepicurean.blogspot.com/2009/05/homemade-veganaise.html Then you can spice it up as you see fit :)

    April 10, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  3. eric shackle

    Greetings from Sydney, Australia.
    You may like to read or copy a story I've written about sandwiches in my blog;

    Best wishes, Eric Shackle, retired Sydney journalist.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  4. lance corporal

    best food article in a loooong time, good work guys

    April 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  5. vickeyd

    I love adding crispy potato chips or oven baked whole wheat crackers to my Salmon/pickle relish sandwich.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  6. Frank

    You're welcome

    April 9, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  7. Don

    all sandwiches improve greatly after a short nap in a panini press.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  8. shar

    Pumpernickel, smoked salmon, cucumber, chopped cornichons or olives, red onion, dill and cream cheese. Baguette, butter, ham, brie and sliced pickles. Baguette, fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato, onion, black pepper, drizzle of olive oil and vinegar. Mmmm Now I'm hungry.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  9. Chris, Austin

    Maybe a bit pedestrian for all of the sandwich gourmets here, but Kraft Sandwich Shop Chipotle mayo is ridiculously good, especially for the cost.

    Butterball Buffalo Style deep fried chicken breast in the lunchmeat section is also fantastic.

    For bread? Sourdough. Mmmmm.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Chris, Austin

      Also, here in TX, we have HEB grocery stores, and they have a Mesquite Smoked Jalapeno Turkey.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:44 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        I. Must. Have. That. Turkey.

        April 6, 2012 at 10:42 am |
        • @Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          Is that your Captain Kirk impression?

          April 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          There's. SomeThingOnTheWing. Some. Thing.

          April 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
        • @Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          LMAO! Thanks dude, rock on!

          April 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • JBJingles_from the casa@Chris, Austin Chris

      Hand over the chipotle mayo and I'll let everyone go. That sounds fantasfreakalicious!

      April 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  10. Andrew

    the first thing any good sandwich needs is the right cheese. different cheeses go with different breads and meats/veggies, but my favorites tend to be brie, mozzerella, and nothing beats halloumi if you can get it in your area.

    as for a spicy sauce, I'm quite partial to Nando's hot sauce

    and for veggies I'm a huge fan of avocado

    April 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Avocados are not veggies, they're mammals.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • Sir Biddle@Jdizz

        Did we wake-and-bake today?

        April 6, 2012 at 10:39 am |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          I wish.

          April 6, 2012 at 10:41 am |
        • bob

          Is "wake-and-bake" making a coffee cake when you arise or hitting the bong before your feet thit the floor?

          April 8, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
        • dumboz

          How bout a "wake-and-bake-and-bake" where you hit the bong before your feet hit the floor, then make a coffee cake for breakfast?

          April 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  11. tip

    Subway has a buy one, get one free before 9:00 am throughout April.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Scruff

      There's a reason they are giving free food away.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  12. MashaSobaka

    Sliced chicken, baby salad greens, sliced avocado, and a drizzle of chipotle dressing, all on a crusty baguette. Yum.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  13. Just!ne

    SO basically, I should just model my sammies after Subway?

    April 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • JRH

      Only make them out of real food.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
      • Just!ne


        April 6, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  14. Bob

    While I agree that Franks and other hot sauces are good, you just gotta watch all the salt.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • sharoom

      And as Dover said, you gotta watch the genitals. Hot sauce does not belong there.

      ...or does it?

      April 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  15. Lila

    Yum. I'll try the pickling. Baguettes are good and so is rye. Also chopped jalapenos mixed in.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  16. Tim

    Great, just what obese America need: recipes for tastier sammiches.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • sharoom

      "The Sandvich is a great tool for a Heavy defending an area, as it gives him the ability to replenish health between enemy waves without having to abandon his post."

      April 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • sam

        Bologna is perfect fuel for killing tiny cowards!

        April 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • timsucks

      Tim. No one is impressed by your cynicism. Some people are fat, some are skinny, some like reading about sandwich recipes, and some are total dipsh*ts who have tear down everything they see. Guess which one you are.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
      • 2+2=5

        Exactly what went through my mind reading that comment. Nice.

        April 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      People aren't getting fat off of sandwiches loaded with veggies. They're getting fat off of crappy fast food that they buy because they think that bringing your lunch is boring and flavorless.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
      • dumboz

        It's true. As someone who did that, I can attest that is what made me fat. I've been bringing my lunch, which has included a delicious sandwich almost every day, for the last four months and have lost 20 pounds. I still have a ways to go, but its suprisingly easy to bring a satisfying and delicious lunch that is healthy.

        April 9, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • danno

      I'm glad we have saviours of the world like you

      April 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  17. Ox ◔ ◡ ◔

    Sambal Oelek, I put that sh!t on everything.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  18. Neutronstar

    Whenever I make tuna fish sandwiches, I add pickled mild banana pepper rings – gives it a little kick, but it's not too hot for faint of heart crowd.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Lila

      That's one of my favorite combos.

      April 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  19. Botch

    Ratha and Ben failed to mention the absolute worst travesty suffered by the Earl's great invention, especially in the United States: DON'T STACK THE THING SO DAMN HIGH!!
    While a 7"-tall sammich may photograph well, or look good on a cooking show, it is impossible to eat; especially in the manner the Fine Earl intended, one-handed while playing cards. Over half of the sandwich shops in my locale don't get my business any more, as their creations are too difficult to eat.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Dover

      Take my word, they don't miss you. Dagwoods rule. A sandwich doesn't taste right unless you get some on your elbow.

      April 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Ann

      Agreed. If I order a roast beef sandwich, I don't need half a cow on it. Make it reasonably-sized, and charge me less.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  20. sharoom

    Sriracha Rooster Sauce, I put that sh!t on everything.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      I love that sh!t, too.

      April 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Dover

      There are only two places where Sriracha is not appropriate. In your eyes or on your genitals. Everywhere else is fair game and vastly improved by Sriracha.

      April 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  21. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Frank's Hot Sauce, I put that sh!t on everything.

    April 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
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