banh mi, cravings, edible obsessions, kool-aid sandwiches, vietnamese sandwich

Edible Obsession: Homemade Banh Mi

The Missus has had her own ‘Edible Obsession,’ for the past month and a half.  A Banh Mi.  This all stemmed from her attending Chinese New Years with a friend and them visiting 163 Vietnamese Sandwiches and Bubble Tea in Boston. For $3, she said you had the most filling sandwich and I heard about it nearly every other day after.

Neither one of us has visited Kim’s on St. John Street and my only prior experience having a Banh Mi wasn’t the most pleasant one in the world. But, I guess that’s what I get for picking it up at a grocery store deli counter and not a place that would have some general sense of how to make one.

So, to ease the pangs and cravings that The Missus was having for one (seriously, you would have thought she was pregnant with a child that could only survive on these sandwiches), I decided to make one at home.

1 French baguette, twelve to eighteen inches long
1 pound thinly sliced pork chop, loin, or shoulder
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fish or oyster sauce
3 packets of raw sugar, about 2 tablespoons
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped ginger
3 jalapeños, sliced with seeds removed or not, depending on your heat tolerance
2 Gherkin cucumbers cut into thin planks
6 to 8 sprigs of cilantro
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of liver pate
carrot and radish slaw (see recipe below)

In a large resealable bag, mix the garlic, fish sauce, sugar, pepper, onion, oils, ginger and 1 jalapeno.  Mix the ingredients until they are well blended and then add the pork. Marinade the pork in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Place a cast iron skillet over high heat until water sprinkled on the skillet quickly evaporates. Add the pork slices, cooking one side at a time until both sides are brown and the meat is completely cooked through. Alternatively, “scramble” the meat by cutting it into smaller pieces with a metal spatula and fork while the meat is cooking. After the meat has cooked, remove the chunks of ginger and jalapeño.
Slice one side of the baguette making a pocket to hold the meat and the toppings.  Open the baguette and spread the mayonnaise on the top half. Spread the pate on the bottom half
Top with the cucumber planks and then the pork.  Add jalapeño slices, cilantro, and carrot-radish slaw.
Carrot and Radish Slaw, makes 2 cups
1 cup daikon radish, shredded
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Combine the ingredients and refrigerate.

I have to say, my only critique of this sandwich is the daikon in the slaw.  It threw way too much water and didn’t add anything at all to the sandwich. Next time I make this, and there will definitely be a next time, I’d skip the daikon and just have it with shredded carrots. Perhaps I’d also use a crunchier baguette, probably one from Standard Baking.  I also deviated from the recipe a bit and added a good schmear of Le Trois Petits Cochons Duck Liver Mousse with Port Wine. The overall flavors of the sandwich were bright and summery, which makes it perfect for fighting off those midwinter doldrums.