Banh mi are delicious Vietnamese sandwiches filled with a symphony of savory ingredients on a baguette or a roll that should have a crispy crust and soft interior. This recipe uses pork, but you could easily use chicken, tofu, or beef. Yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but it’s very easy to put together once you have marinated and prepared the pork. (Makes 4-6 sandwiches)
- 2 baguettes
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed, or a substitute (as described above)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- Daikon or a few small radishes, sliced thinly or cut into matchsticks
Marinade for meat:
- 2 large shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 5 tablespoons lemongrass from white inner part of stalks, sliced
- 5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 inch of ginger root, peeled and chopped
- 3-4 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 teaspoons canola oil
- 3 teaspoons Asian chili sauce such as sambal oelek or sriracha
- 3 teaspoons ground coriander
- 3 teaspoons five-spice powder
Pickling brine for vegetables:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup hot water
Fillings + toppings:
- 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into ribbons
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves removed from stems
- 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and sliced, OR pickled jalapenos (they won’t be as spicy)
- Maggi (liquid) seasoning or substitute (see below)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1-2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (sambal oelek or sriracha)
* To make your own Maggi seasoning substitute, mix together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
- Put all of the meat marinade ingredients into a blender until smooth, set aside.
- The pork will be easier to slice if partially frozen for an hour or two. Slice the pork in half through the equator (lengthwise), then slice into about 3-4″ pieces. Cover the meat with plastic wrap and pound to 1/8″ thick.
- Combine meat and marinade and refrigerate for 4-8 hours (the longer the better). You can use a glass baking pan or a zip-close bag. Make sure that each piece of meat gets coated in the marinade. Let the pork rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Make the brine. Mix the sugar, rice wine vinegar, and salt with the hot water and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour the mixture over the carrots and daikons or radishes. Let sit to pickle for at least 1 hour (I do longer).
- Combine the mayonnaise and the chili sauce in a bowl, then set aside.
- While pork is resting, get all of the toppings out: pickled vegetables, jalapenos, cucumber, cilantro, Maggi seasoning, chili-mayo, bread.
- Cut the baguettes into 8″ pieces, then slice them lengthwise and pull a bit of bread from the center to make room for the filling.
- Clean, grease, and heat an outdoor grill or grill pan to high heat (make sure you can vent if indoors). Working in batches, add the pork in a single layer and cook for about 2 minutes per side, just until cooked – do not overcook! Transfer to a plate. Toast the inside of the rolls on the grill or under a broiler (be careful not to burn!).
- Assemble: spread chili-mayo on top and bottom of each toasted roll, sprinkle some Maggi sauce on the mayo, then layer the meat, drained pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, jalapenos, and cilantro.
- If you have leftovers, save each ingredient in separate containers.