Sunday, April 24, 2011

Banh Mi Party!

I just moved into a new place with my best buddy (and new roomie!) Val. It’s big, it’s centrally located. It’s pretty much just begging for a party.

We couldn’t help but oblige. Everyone needs a housewarming party.

We decided to make a build-your-own Banh mi bar. Banh mi is a delicious Vietnamese sandwich. We made them with both spicy grilled pork tenderloin and delicious, crunchy pork belly.

The recipe is super easy. You just have to plan ahead so you can marinate the meat, make the daikon pickles, etc.

Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches)


1 ½ lbs pork tenderloin
2 scallions, minced
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs fish sauce
1 ½ Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs Garlic chili sauce (Sambal
2 cloves garlic, minced

The day before you are planning on actually eating your sandwiches, mix up the scallions, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, sambal and garlic in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over your pork tenderloin in a large ziplock bag. (The last time I made this, I put in just a dash of sesame oil. It was good, but it didn’t make a super huge difference. So have no fear, sesame-allergy-sufferers.) Smush everything around in the bag a bit and put it in the refrigerator overnight. (I’m one of those people that has to check on everything eight bajillion times while I’m cooking, so I mix the bag around every few hours. This is not necessary if you are sane.)

Pork tenderloin on the grill, gettin' tasty.

On the day of, fire up your grill, make sure you grease your grate (if your grill is not already non-stick) and cook the pork directly over the coals/heat source for about 3-4 minutes on each of the four sides. (This cook time greatly depends on the size of your tenderloin. If you think it’s a pretty big chunk, grill it a little longer!) Cook until the internal temperature reads 145° to 150°. Put on a plate and cover with tin foil to rest until you’re ready to assemble your sandwiches.  Right before serving, slice the meat into however thick slices you want. (I usually aim for about ¼” – ½” slices.)

Pork Belly:

Crunchy, fatty goodness.
Spice Rub: (amounts can vary, use as much or as little to your taste.)
Chinese five-spice
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Cayenne (sparingly)

Score the skin of the pork belly on quarter inch intervals. Rub spice mixture onto the meat on both sides. Place into a glass dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Rinse the belly before cooking. Preheat the oven to 450°. Place meat on a foil covered baking sheet, skin side up, and cook for half an hour. Turn down heat to 350° and cook for about two more hours. Let rest until ready to serve. Cut across the top into 1/2" pieces.

(These radish and carrot pickles give the sandwich it’s distinctive Vietnamese taste. I think they smell awful, but taste amazing, adding an important sourness to the sando.)
1 large carrot, peeled
1 lb daikon radish, peeled (A hint about daikon, try to get a radish that is smaller in diameter. I think the ones that are like 1 ½” thick are the tastiest.)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp + ½ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup rice (or white) vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
A medium sized glass container with a lid (I use either a quart mason jar or a small glass Tupperware container.)

Pickles, gettin' pickley.

Slice the carrot and radish into matchsticks and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt and two teaspoons sugar over the veggies and mix with hands until they are soft. (A good way to tell if they’re soft enough is if you can bend a stick in half without it breaking. It usually takes about 3 minutes.) Drain the excess liquid and put the veggies into your container.

In another bowl, combine the ½ cup sugar, vinegar and water and mix until the sugar dissolves. Pour this mixture over the veggies until they are just covered. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To assemble the sandwiches:
1 baguette
sliced cucumber
sliced jalapeños
fresh cilantro

Ed (left) was our "Prettiest banh mi" contest winner. Look at the skillful way he applies the mayo to the baguette.

Slice and toast the baguette. Spread with mayo. (For an extra kick, mix a tiiny bit of the sambal in with the mayo.) Layer on the sliced pork, pork belly, pickles, sliced cucumber, sliced jalapeños and fresh cilantro and enjoy!

If you’re not a fan of any of these ingredients, I recommend you quit being a chicken and at least try them all together. It’s one of those foods that needs all the flavors together to be fabulous.

No comments:

Post a Comment