Wake up to the savory, spicy flavors of Vietnam

When I have homemade stock on hand, Asian-inspired soups are one of my favorite quick-cooking meals. Noodles in a long-simmered stock need few additions, maybe just a splash of fish sauce, squeeze of citrus and sprinkle of fresh herbs to wake up the palate.

This kind of noodle soup is the ubiquitous breakfast in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian locales. But the recent bone-broth craze in this country has made soups and savory porridge more familiar in the morning.

So Ashland Food Co-op is bringing “breakfast noodles from Vietnam” to its culinary kiosk, even if it’s at the hour usually reserved for brunch. Sample it at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16. The recipe builds on a bone-broth class held earlier this week.

And if you like Southeast Asian fare for breakfast, try this twist on the traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi. Or make this spicy, vinegary bacon-and-egg sandwich anytime. I certainly will.

Tribune News Service photo

Breakfast Banh Mi

2 carrots, peeled

1 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 loaf ciabatta bread

1/2 cup mixed fresh cilantro and mint leaves

1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into matchsticks

1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and sliced into crescents

8 slices brown-sugar bacon (recipe follows)

Canola oil, as needed

4 eggs

Use a vegetable peeler to carve the carrots into long strips. Pile strips into a bowl; rub with the sugar, salt and 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha. Pour in the vinegar and enough cold water to cover. Let soak at room temperature, briefly — or for up to 2 days, chilled. When ready to build sandwiches, drain carrots, rinse and pat dry.

In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, remaining 2 tablespoons Sriracha, the soy sauce and sesame oil. Chill this spicy sauce.

Cut the ciabatta into four squares, 3 by 3 inches. (Save any extra bread for crumb duty.) Slice in half horizontally. Open sandwich sets, crust down, crumb up.

Spread both crumb sides of each sandwich with spicy sauce. Sprinkle both sides of each with the combined cilantro and mint. Settle some of the jalapeno sticks, cucumber crescents and carrot curls on both sides. Fold 2 slices of the bacon onto each bottom half.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in a little of the canola oil. When hot, fry the eggs, turning once, to your liking. It takes about 4 minutes for edges that are crisp, whites that are set and yolks that aren’t.

Top each bacon set with 1 fried egg. (They may hang over the edges a bit — that’s OK.) Close up sandwiches. Enjoy.

BROWN-SUGAR BACON: Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set a rack on top. Spread out 1/3 cup dark-brown sugar on a plate. Brush 8 strips thick-cut bacon on both sides with soy sauce. Press 1 side into sugar. Set bacon strips, sugar-side up, on rack. Grind on some black pepper. Slide into a 350-degree oven and bake until dark brown (but not entirely crisp), for about 25 minutes. Cool.

Adapted by the Chicago Tribune from a recipe by chef David Sherman, of Cafe Cito, Baltimore.

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