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Friday, May 25, 2012

Bánh mì Goodness

If you've never tasted the amazingness that is Bánh mì, you are seriously missing out! I highly encourage you to find your nearest Vietnamese restaurant and try them out, or better yet, make them yourself.  Bánh mì is basically a french baguette filled with your choice of meat or pate and topped with pickled veggies, cilantro, cucumber, mayo, and chili sauce. 
Bánh mì ready to be assembled and DEVOURED!
I recently hosted a group of ladies at my house and wanted to provide a snack that would not only be delicious but also give some of them the opportunity to step outside the culinary box.  Bánh mì fits the bill. Savory chopped pork is the perfect base for the tangy-ness of the pickled veggies, while the cucumbers and the cilantro lend their distinct flavors and textures. Top it off with the heat of the sriracha, you've got yourself one craveable sandwich!

The pickled veggies are a breeze to make and you'll find yourself adding them to everything. For this recipe, I sliced up radishes, jalapenos, and carrots in the food processor. Aside from the flavor of these three, which are totally yummy, the color combo is divine! Traditional Bánh mì uses daikon radishes and carrots, I went with regular radishes, carrots and jalapeno for a little extra kick. 

I love the colors!
Once you slice up your veggies, pickling them is a snap. 1 part cider vinegar, 2 parts water, about a tablespoon of sugar, and salt to taste. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or two so the veggies can soak up the mixture.

I based my pork recipe on this (looking at their page REALLY makes me envious for a new camera!) but instead of using pork belly, I went with two pork loins. I cubed, seared, and seasoned them the same way as the recipe.   After they cooked, I strained the meat out and ran it through the slicing blade on my food processor. It shreds up nicely and really soaks up the juice once you return it to the Dutch Oven. The Vietnamese caramel is a little on the tricky side and it took me two times to get it right. Here's a tip, once you put your sugar in the water, swirl the pan, do NOT stir it!!! Stirring the caramel will cause air bubbles and cool the mixture and it won't caramelize. Instead, it will turn into a crusty mess. Once I mastered the caramel sauce, I added it to the shredded meat. Then I let it simmer on low for a couple hours while I prepped my house for guests.
The smell coming out of that pot was to die for!
After your meat has simmered for at least 45 min., you're ready to rock! Slice up some French bread, slather on the mayo and sriracha, top it with the meat, pickled veggies, thinly sliced cukes, cilantro, and BAM you've got yourself one tasty sammy!!!

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of an assembled sandwiches but I can assure you, they were as pretty as they were scrumptious and  a HUGE hit with my ladies!

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