Monday, January 25, 2010

Banh Mi - Oh my!

There are two things about me that I have to share before I start this post: 1) I LOVE Vietnamese food; 2) I am a junkie for food magazines but I rarely make the recipes in them. If you share either of these characteristics with me, read on!

It's true. I devour my monthly food magazines. I tear out recipes I want to try and then... well, they pile up in various places all over my house. Usually that's about it. (I know there are a lot of you just like me!). But I was reading the January Bon Appetit recently and eagerly tore out a recipe for Pork meatball Banh Mi. It appeared in a meatball article which I expected to be full of Italian classics. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this one and the photo looked good enough to eat. I decided to make it that very weekend.

The complete recipe is below, straight from epi. I left off the jalapenos (my mayo was zippy enough). One thing very worth noting is that the meatball mix and mayo can be made a day ahead. I was making this for lunch so saving some time in the morning was a huge plus. Also, I'd recommend Thai basil if you can find it. If not, no biggie - I only had regular and it tasted great, but the flavor would have been just a little more authentic with the Thai variety.

My husband and I devoured these and decided they'd make a delicious app too - pop a meatball, some of the quick pickled daikon and carrot, and a little of the mayo into a lettuce cup for a nice quick nibble. (OK, now I want some...)

By the way, Banh Mi can be made lots of different ways - if you have another variety you like, please leave a comment. I'd love to try some others!

ithout any further ado, my first recipe of 2010. It's a real winner.

Pork Meatball Banh Mi
Recipe from Bon Appetit, January 2010, also on epicurious

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
Hot Chili Mayo:Stir all ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Meatballs:Line rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Sandwiches:Toss first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of meatballs. Sauté until brown and cooked through, turning meatballs often and lowering heat if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to another rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

Cut each baguette or baguette piece horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell. Arrange jalapeños, then cilantro, in bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.

*Available in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets.
**Available at some supermarkets and at Asian markets.


Ravenous Couple said...

this looks great! try other vietnamese meats such as grilled pork/chicken with lemongrass

Tara D. Coomans said...

This would make good Superbowl Chow!! Thanks for the idea!

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