Bánh Mì

An odd thing happened when I sat down to write this post… I had no idea what to say.  What do you say about one of the greatest taste experiences on the planet?  Thank God for a world of flavors and cuisines, and thank God for the people who turn us onto them – pretty much all I came up with.

One of the funniest people I know also happens to be our work Bánh Mì fairy.  The first time I enjoyed one of these simple sandwiches, I fell in love.  Simple, beautiful flavors – salty, sweet, spicy, clean… amazing.  Give me bread, meat and cilantro and I’m a happy girl.

You know what happens when I put my spin on food at home, I add beer!  With a bit of beer in the pickling liquid, and a beer marinade, this recipe has been properly adjusted… in my humble opinion.   I use Lindemans Kriek Cuvée René, it’s easily found and its funky, sourness pairs fantastically with pork.

This sandwich construction will take on a few processes.  You’re going to make a pickling liquid for the cucumbers, then bottle it.  A pickling liquid for the carrots, then bottle it.  A marinade for the pork.  Cook the pork.  And finally, assemble the sandwiches.  If this undertaking sounds daunting, don’t shy away, it’s not nearly that scary, and the payoff is well worth it!

A few tips – don’t skimp on good French bread.   Make your pickled carrots and cucumbers the night before.  You’ll have tons of pickling liquid left over,  so grab an extra cucumber, you’ll be glad you did.  Make sure your pork is good and dry before marinating.  Let your meat marinate overnight.

Bánh Mì purists – I apologize in advance, I slather my bread with mayo, it’s not the Vietnamese way, but it’s my way.

Pickled Cucumbers:

Ingredients:

1 c Rice Vinegar

3 tbl water

1 c sugar

1 t salt

2 large cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 t crushed red pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbl Asian fish sauce

2 tbl Lindemans Kriek Cuvée René

Directions:

Bring the rice vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil over medium heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.   Set aside to let cool.  In a Mason Jar, add cucumbers, crushed red pepper, garlic, fish sauce and beer.  Pour the pickling liquid overtop, and place in refrigerator for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.

Pickled Carrots:

Ingredients:

1 c Rice Vinegar

3 tbl water

4 tbl sugar

2 tsp salt

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

healthy pinch of dill

3 large carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise

Directions:

Bring the rice vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil over medium heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add bay leaf and dill.   Set aside to let cool.  In a Mason Jar, add carrots, and pour pickling liquid overtop.  Place in refrigerator for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.

Pork:

Ingredients:

One 3-pound boneless pork shoulder

2 tbl salt

3  garlic gloves, minced

1 tbl black pepper

1 tbl white sugar

2 tbl brown sugar

2 t ground ginger

1 1/2 t Chinese five spice

2 cups Lindemans Kriek Cuvée René

Directions:

Combine salt, garlic, black pepper, white and brown sugar, ginger and Chinese five spice in a bowl large enough to hold the pork shoulder.  Add shoulder and evenly coat with the spice mixture.  Pour liquid overtop.  Cover, refrigerate, and let sit overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°.  Drain the pork and pat dry, transfer to a roasting pan.  Let the pork return to room temperature.  Roast the pork for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once; when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°, the pork is done.  Let rest for 30 minutes before slicing thinly.

Sandwiches:

Ingredients:

French Bread baguettes, split lengthwise

Mayonnaise

Pâté

1 Jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced

fresh cilantro sprigs

Directions:

Spread cut sides of baguettes with mayonnaise and pâté.  Top with roasted pork, cucumber slices, carrots, cilantro, and jalapenos.

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5 thoughts on “Bánh Mì

    • i’ve made the pickled carrot mixture with daikon before but have the hardest time finding it. rather than have someone worry about a missing ingredient, i omitted. but if you can find it, totally rock it in there!

  1. Thanks for sharing your banh mi recipe. I’m obsessed with these sandwiches. Pickling the cucumber is something I never thought about trying. What a great idea!

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