Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Banh Mi

I was first introduced to Banh Mi by this great Vietnamese food truck. This simple sandwich usually involves grilled meat, pickled vegetables, lots of cilantro, jalapeno slices, and spicy sauce, all served on a crisp, sweet baguette.When I was in LA for college, the food truck would park at the local brewery and we would get Banh Mi and Vietnamese Nachos to snack on with our beers. Conveniently, I now have a super authentic Vietnamese restaurant down the street from my office so I can satisfy my cravings anytime. 

When I saw that one of my favorite food blogs had posted a Banh Mi recipe (and it seemed easy enough for a weeknight meal), I knew I had to try it...and I'm so glad I did! There are several different components to it which can seem intimidating, but it's really not hard to put together. 

Banh Mi, serves 4 (Recipe adapted from Shutterbean)

For the marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice and zest of 1 lime
About 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch wide pieces

For the rest of the sandwich:
1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup julienned daikon
Juice of 1 lime
1 baguette (sweet rather than sourdough)
2 teaspoons Sriracha (or more to taste)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Two big handfuls of cilantro
1 jalapeno, sliced
Fried egg (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the pork, toss it so it's coated well, and let it marinade for 30 minutes.

While the pork is marinating, julienne the carrots and daikon. 

Instead of traditionally pickling these vegetables, I just squeezed the juice of 1 lime over them, dusted them with a pinch of salt, and let them sit while I prepared the rest of the ingredients. The lime juice brings a nice brightness to the sandwich.

Preheat a grill (or grill pan if you, like me, lack a space for outdoor grilling) to medium-high heat. Grill the pork, turning it once, about 4-5 minutes until it reaches 140 degrees. Let it rest, and then thinly slice it. 

Now the fun part! To start assembling the sandwiches, cut the baguette into 4 sections and split each one lengthwise. For the sauce, combine the Sriracha with the mayonnaise and spread it evenly on the baguettes. Pile on the carrots, daikon, cilantro, pork, and jalapeno. I topped mine with a fried egg because why not?! You certainly don't have to, but I highly recommend it. 

Finally, this is Poppy's latest perch: the box our wedding invitations came in. There's nothing like a comfy cardboard box to nap on, right?!

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