I love Bánh Mì sandwiches, the slightly sweet meat, pickled vegetables, spicy peppers and crunchy bread is a brilliant combination. Realistically, you could probably buy already made sandwiches for cheaper but that’s only if you live close to a good shop. Will doesn’t like pickled vegetables so making our own allowed me to customize his vegetables. I had boneless pork chops on hand so I used that instead of the recommended tenderloin. Despite the slightly lighter color, this recipe was quite delicious and not far off the original.
- For pork:
- 1 (1-pound/450g) 1 lb boneless pork chop (or pork loin)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely-minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- For sandwiches:
- 1 cup (500ml) warm water
- ¼ cup (60ml) rice or white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt, or enough to make a moderately salty brine
- ¼ lb (250g) peeled and shredded or julienned carrots
- ¼ lb (250g) peeled and shredded or julienned daikon radish
- 3 small, crusty baguettes (petit pains), preferably from a Vietnamese bakery
- 1 cucumber, halved and sliced lengthwise
- thinly-sliced fresh chilies, to taste
- fresh cilantro sprigs
- a squirt of Maggi or fish sauce (optional)
- chili sauce (optional)
- To prepare the pork, remove and discard any sinew and trim off large pieces of fat on the exterior. Cut the pork across the grain into thin strips. Transfer pork to a large sealable plastic bag. Stir together remaining ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Add to pork and turn pork to coat, then squeeze bag to eliminate as much air as possible and seal. Marinate pork, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the pickles: mix together the warm water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until everything dissolves and add the carrots and daikon (if using). Let stand for at least 1 hour. Drain well before using; keep what you don’t use in the brine and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F/220C. Remove the pork from its marinade and position pork strips 1 inch apart on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with any remaining marinade. Roast on the center rack for about 10 minutes. Brush meat with any juices that have pooled on the baking sheet and turn each piece over. Roast pork for another 10-15 minutes, basting once or twice more, until the pork is browned and glistening. Cool slightly, then cut into pieces that will fit inside the baguettes (if necessary).
- Cut the baguettes open on one side and rewarm in the oven to revive their crispiness (the ambient heat left in the oven is usually enough to do this). To assemble the sandwiches, slather one side of the interior with mayonnaise, a squeeze of chili sauce and sprinkle the other with a few drops of Maggi or fish sauce. Next, nestle in a few slices of chili, pieces of meat, a cucumber wedge, a sprig or two of cilantro and a tangle of carrot-daikon pickle.
Recipe adapted from Traveler’s Lunch Box