Saturday, January 23, 2010

Banh Mi: The New Black

Though they aren't quite as ubiquitous as pretzels and hot dogs, banh mi are apparently well on their way to taking over New York City. I first tasted one of these Vietnamese sandwiches--at their most basic, they consist of chicken, pork or even pate; pickled, shredded vegetables; spicy mayo; and sprigs of cilantro; all on a crusty baguette--about three years ago at Bao Noodles. Then my coworkers introduced me to Baoguette. And now I'm here to tell you about a twist on the banh mi that you can easily make at home.

If banh mi are supposedly a French-Vietnamese hybrid, then the Pork Meatball Banh Mi is an Italian-French-Vietnamese hybrid, taking the meatball sub in a very interesting (and delicious) direction. This recipe, from Bon Appetit, has you combine ground pork with chopped basil, garlic, scallions, fish sauce, chili sauce, sugar, salt and pepper (plus a sprinkling of cornstarch, presumably to help hold everything together). You form the meat into small-ish balls and fry them in a tablespoon of Asian sesame oil until they're nice and brown.

Before all that, however, you've already grated some carrots and daikon (or just use regular radishes if you can't find daikon) and set them to pickle in rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt for an hour or so. And you've whipped regular mayo into a deliciously spicy concoction with hot chili sauce and scallions.

Slice open a baguette (and here's where I think I could've used some foresight: the Eli's Bread baguette I bought was a bit too crusty; next time I'll go for a softer loaf), and pile on some meatballs, veggies and mayo. Tuck a few stems of cilantro in there, and maybe some sliced cucumber or jalapeno pepper, if you're so inclined. The combo of sweet, spicy, hot and cool is excellent. Bring on the banh mi boom!--S

1 comment:

Laura said...

I mean, could you think of a more beautiful marriage of flavors? Sesame, pork, pickled veggies and crusty bread!?!