Ultimate Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe
In Vietnamese, banh mi typically refers to bread. However, if you are familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, you would know that banh mi is actually a type of sandwich made using Vietnamese baguettes. All ingredients used in making banh mi are local to Vietnamese cuisine and the flavors combined can increase anyone’s appetite! It does contain meat so if you are vegan, this is one recipe you will not be able to try.
Banh mi is essentially a layer of flavors which includes everything from meat to veggies. To be more specific, the process of making it is a little more complicated than it seems. There is the layer of slaw, seasoned pork, cha lua (Vietnamese Pork Roll) and much more. Yes, it all seems overwhelming but we promise to guide you through the process as best as we can!
Ingredients used to make traditional banh mi:
For Cha Lua
|· Lean ground pork||2 ½ lbs.|
|· Fish sauce||2 tbsp.|
|· Kosher salt||½ tsp.|
|· Sugar||1 tsp.|
|· White pepper||1 tsp.|
|· Garlic powder||1 tsp.|
|· Onion powder||1 tsp.|
|· Baking powder||1 tsp. (approx.)|
|· Tapioca flour||1 tsp.|
|· Warm water||2/3 cup|
|· Banana leaves (or plastic wrap)||1 package|
|· White vinegar||¼ cup|
|· Sugar||¼ cup|
|· Carrots sliced in julienne||½ cup|
|· Daikon radish in julienne||½ cup|
|· Salt||As per taste|
For Seasoned Pork
|· Canola oil||1 tbsp.|
|· Chopped onions (yellow)||1 / 2|
|· Ground pork||1 lb.|
|· Hoisin sauce||2 tsp.|
|· Soy sauce||3 tsp.|
|· Asian sesame oil||1 tsp.|
|· Sriracha sauce||½ tsp.|
|· Chinese five-spice powder||½ tsp.|
|· Onion powder||½ tsp.|
|· Garlic powder||½ tsp.|
|· Black pepper (freshly ground)||¼ tsp.|
|· 10” baguettes||4|
|· ¼ “ thick slices of cha lua||12 slices|
|· Salami||8 slices|
|· Soy||4 tsp.|
|· Cilantro Springs||½ cup|
|· English cucumber (thin slices)||1 /2|
|· Asian-style chili oil||¾ tsp.|
You should find most of the ingredients listed above in the Asian sections of supermarkets. However, for some of the ingredients for the Vietnamese sandwich, you will have to make a trip to Asian food markets.
How to Make Banh Mi
Making Cha Lua (Prepare at least 2 days early)
- You will need the help of your food processor for this task. The meat including the fish sauce, salt, sugar, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder – all these will go into the food processor. The ingredients need to be mixed properly. So, pulse the machine till everything is well combined.
- Incorporate the baking powder and flour into the warm water that you had set aside previously. However, keep in mind that the mix should be prepared just before you add it to the pulsed meat.
- Then proceed to add the flour and water mix to the meat mix in the food processor. Pulse for another 30 seconds before you can transfer it to a medium-sized bowl. Refrigerate this meat mix for a full night, making sure it has been covered.
- Take the meat out of the fridge the following day and split it into two separate loaves.
- Move on to tightly securing the loaves with the banana leaves or plastic wrap, wrapping your preferred option around the loaf. You will need to add another layer over the first layer. And if your chosen option was banana leaf, then wrap the whole loaf once more with plastic wrap.
- With the help of kitchen strings, tie each of the loaves up along their lengths and widths a couple of times.
- These loaves will now need to be steamed for approximately 50-60 minutes with an internal temperature of about 145° After the allotted time, slice the loaf to see whether it is done. If it still looks undercooked, wrap the loaf once more and steam for an extra 15 minutes.
- When you see that the loaves look cooked, get rid of the strings and wraps. Then slices it to the desired thickness.
Preparing the Slaw
Making the slaw is fairly simple. Take a saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar and ½ cup water till it comes to a boil over high heat. When it starts to boil, pour the liquid into a medium-sized bowl where you will add the radish, carrots and approximately ½ tsp. of salt.
Let this rest for a period of 30 minutes after which you will need to drain the liquid away.
Making the Seasoned Pork
Take a skillet (preferably a large one) and start heating up your oil. Once the oil looks heated enough, add the onions to it. Sauté the onion till it softens. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
With onion sautéed, add the pork, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, five-spice powder, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper to it. For the next five minutes, cook the ingredients till they brown. Stir several times while you are at it. Take the skillet off the heat after this and keep it aside till the pork is ready for use.
Putting the Sandwich Together
Split the baguettes and cut them in half. With your broiler piping hot, put the baguettes under it for about 2 minutes. Make sure they are cut face up and have been placed on baking sheets. 2 minutes beneath the broiler should brown and toast them lightly. Be careful though, making sure the baguettes do not get brunt.
On the bottom part of the baguettes, layer the cilantro, cucumber, slaw, seasoned pork, cha lua, salami, soy, pickled jalapeños and chili oil, maintaining order. Cover these layers with the top half of the baguette and serve in smaller pieces, according to your preference.
Those were the steps of making the famous Banh Mi. Sure, it looks like a handful but the hard work is worth the pay. Also, a variety of versions of banh mi is available, using different kinds of meat. But pork is used in the traditional recipe. However, feel free to play around the kitchen, creating something that you know you will love to eat!