Banh Mis are a traditional Vietnamese sandwich that have become hugely popular in the U.S. We received “Vietnamese Home Cooking” by Charles Phan for Christmas and decided it was time to try them out for ourselves.
Phan, whose San Francisco restaurant The Slanted Door was one of our destinations on our fourth date, takes traditional recipes and makes them accessible to the average home cook with ingredients that are readily available (in most places anyway.)
The meat in Banh Mi can be anything from meatballs to spiced pork. But the sandwich must include pickled carrots, thinly slice fresh jalapeños, thinly sliced cucumber and loads of fresh cilantro. (Phan suggests getting grocery store baguettes or a bolillo which is a torpedo-shaped Mexican roll.) We like to make Lemongrass Pork.
Lemongrass Pork Ingredients:
- 3/4 C finely chopped lemongrass (we used dried lemongrass and much less)
- 1/4 C chopped garlic (yes, that is a lot of garlic)
- 3 T kosher salt
- 1 1/2 T dried coriander
- 1 1/2 T freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 C canola oil
- 4 lbs boneless pork loin
Pro tip: if you are in a hurry, you can just use one of those pre-marinated small pork roasts from the store and grill it up.
Combine all ingredients but pork to make paste. Set aside.
Depending on the size of your pork loin, either butterfly lengthy wise without cutting through (so it opens like a book) or if it thicker, cut in horizontally about 1 inch and cut the length of the loin. The idea is to get that baby stuffed with 3/4 of the spice mixture. Roll up the pork and secure with twine every three inches. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Phan suggests 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325. Let meat come to room temp then back until thermometer reads 140, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil.
Pickled Carrots Ingredients:
- 1/4 C distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- 1/2 C peeled and finely julienned carrots
Mix all until sugar dissolved. Add carrots and let stand at least 20 minutes or up to a week.
This is traditional served with Maggi seasoning sauce which is similar in taste and consistency to soy sauce. We use a light spread of Sriracha mayo and a splash of soy sauce.