Saturday, November 27, 2010

Banh Mi Pork Sandwiches

After watching the food truck challenge on the Food Network, I wanted to know what all the fuss was over these Vietnamese sandwiches. I searched and found a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine.

This recipe is made with seasoned pork meatballs, but there are several versions out on the internet.  These are a healthy and tasty change from a hamburger. Even though the hamburger food truck won in NY, the food truck selling these type of sandwiches won out in every other place and for good reason.

Should you be more curious or are looking for more recipes, check out the "battle of the Banh Mi" by clicking here.

The recipe below makes about 4 sandwiches and has some special sauces/spices. In  Texas, I have been able to find all of them in the Asian section of the HEB grocery store.

Banh Mi
adapted from Bon Appetit/Jan 2010

2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
3 green onions chopped
4 minced cloves of garlic
1 lb of pork
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs sriracha
1 tbs sugar (for meat)
1/4 cup sugar (for vegetables)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely grated carrots
1 cup coarsely grated daikon or radishes
1 tbs sesame oil
Fresh cilantro sprigs
4 hero rolls or baguettes

First you will need to do all the chopping of the vegetables as noted above.  If you use a food processor with a shredding or slicing disk, make sure that your grated items are not too thin or your pickled veggies will be soggy. They have to be stout enough to not turn to mush in the pickling process.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment or wax paper.  In a medium size bowl, take the first eight ingredients listed above and put in bowl.  Mix with wooden spoon until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Then moisten your hands with water and form pork mixture into balls, using a heaping tablespoon for measuring.  Place meatballs on baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in fridge to chill for 1 hour or more.

The next step is pickling your vegetables. Place rice vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar and salt in a small bowl and whisk together.  Toss in the shredded carrots and daikon/radish.  Let this mixture stand at room temperature for about one hour.  During this time, you will need to toss the vegetables every 15 minutes.

After your meatballs have completed the chilling time, place a saucepan on the stove at medium high or plug in an electric skillet. Pour in the sesame oil and let it heat for 3 minutes.  Then add your meatballs.  Let the meatballs brown, turning to different sides at intervals.  Turn the heat down if you find them cooking too fast. The meatballs should take 10-15 minutes for each batch to be cooked through.

To assemble the sandwiches, butterfly the bread rolls or baguettes.  Then place meatballs in first, then vegetables and then the final touch of sprigs of cilantro on top.

This is a great lunch sandwich.  Be creative and substitute your usual regular potato chips on the side with fried won tons wrappers with salt. Enjoy!