I think I’m the last person on the planet who has had the Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi, added to her food radar. The first time I saw anything about them was in one of my food magazines about a year ago. Anything with bright veggies gets my attention — especially if it’s salad. But a salad in a sandwich? This had to be good. Pickled carrots, cucumber with cilantro…and pork? I’d never heard of this particular kind of sandwich before. It was interesting that it was on a French baguette, too. An easy search led me to Battle of the Bahn Mi and then to White on Rice for some amazing renditions of this sandwich.
My first attempt follows. After much procrastination, I’ve finally joined the ranks of those who love this sandwich.
Now, I need to find a local place that makes them.
I could eat them every day.
Pork Meatball Banh Mi
Recipe source: Bon Appetit
Hot Chili Mayo
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)*
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
- 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 2 cups coarsely grated carrots
- 2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish)**
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
- Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
- 16 large fresh cilantro sprigs
- We wanted to eat the meatballs before we made the sandwiches. The aroma was amazing,
- You knew how lean pork was, right? Here’s the deal: there are a few more calories compared to ground chicken or turkey, but ultimately the calories from fat are significantly less: half. That’s quite the difference. I used California natural extra lean ground pork and doubled the quantity (2 lbs.).
- I used quite a bit of basil. I couldn’t help myself. I had a package that needed to be used and got carried away, so added about 1/2 cup to the mix.
- If you don’t have Sriracha, you don’t know what you’re missing but you could substitute any hot sauce you like.
- There was no daikon at my market. Go figure. I sliced radishes and added them to the carrots to pickle. They were most likely a tame version of what the daikon would have been.
- I didn’t have jalapenos. I couldn’t believe it. I always have jalapenos. Honestly? If you used the Sriracha liberally, the extra heat isn’t needed. The balls and the sauce are spicy enough.
- On the sauce: I hate to mention this, but have to. I couldn’t get my husband to consider eating anything with mayonnaise in it, so I made the sauce with ranch dressing. Don’t get me started. It was fine. Don’t tell anyone.
- I used a store-bought baguette and cut it into three pieces to make our banh mi. For the amount of meatballs I had, I could have fed 6-8 with small portions. Great party food.