Pork banh mi is a delightful Vietnamese street food dish made by filling a light crisp baguette with caramelised pork, chilli, fresh cucumber, herbs and topped with a pickle made from carrot and mooli (white radish). Can you enjoy this dish at home?
The good news is that you can make this delicious dish at home for a snack, lunch, barbecue meal or as a party food.
Pork banh mi is a delicious unique blend of flavors - sweet, sour, salty, savory in every mouthful, especially as the individual items retain their texture and taste.
The recipe, below, includes one for making the carrot and mooli pickle, but you can use other prepared sauces as well.
The mooli white radish are generally available from Asian supermarkets, framers markets and the larger fresh produce stores. Or you can grow your own.
Combine 1 teaspoon salt, the vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl, and stir to complete dissolve the crystals in the vinegar. Add the vegetables to the bowl and push down to make sure all of the pieces are completely covered with vinegar. Set aside for 1-2 hours, or preferably 1-2 days in the refrigerator to allow the vinegar to infuse into the vegetables.
Add the 6 tablespoons of sugar to 4 tablespoons water to a pan and cook over a high heat until the sugar is a rich golden color (do not stir while cooking). Carefully insert the pork cubes into the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to coat each piece, all over, with the caramel mixture.
Then, add just enough water to completely cover the pork pieces. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Skim off any residues that float to the surface. Then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, add the spring onions, fish sauce, garlic, a pinch of salt and the peppercorns. Simmer uncovered, for 20–30 minutes, or until the pork is just tender (don't over-cook).
Remove the pork from the pan and set aside on a plate. Remove the garlic cloves, spring onion pieces from the liquid and discard. Increase the heat and boil the liquid to thicken and reduce its volume (about 10 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the pork back into the pan and mix with a spoon to coat all the pork pieces with the sauce.
Cut the baguette into suitable lengths (about 15 cm or 6 inches; or the length you prefer), Split each section of baguette and removing some of the bread inside to create a hollow for the filling. Spread one side with mayonnaise, and dot with some slices of fresh chilli. Add a serving or caramelized pork belly chunks into the cavity, and top with a tablespoon of mooli and carrot pickle, coriander leaves and cucumber sticks. Serve immediately. Keep the pork warm while assembly the remainder of the baguettes.