Regular followers of the blog already know how much I love sandwiches. I think could be happy having a sandwich for dinner just about every day of the week, as long as it was something different all of the time. I have looked at making Banh Mi sandwiches for a while but I have always kind of shied away from mom because I was worried that Sean and Michelle would not really care for them because of the spice that is in most of the recipes. However, when I saw this particular recipe for a pork meatball bánh mì from Bon Appétit, I decided to bite the bullet and give the recipe a try. This particular recipe does use a lot of ingredients that I do not normally have on hand so I did have to get a few things, such as daikon, a Japanese white radish. You may have to go out and get a couple of different ingredients if you want to make this particular version, but it is certainly worth the results.
Pork Meatball Banh Mi
For the Hot Chili Mayo:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
To Assemble the Sandwiches:
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 sesame oil
4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or for 10-inch-long pieces French bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
Thinly sliced jalapeno peppers
Fresh cilantro sprigs
To make the hot chili mayo, stir the mayonnaise, chopped green onions, and hot chili sauce together in a small bowl. Season the mix with salt to taste. The hot chili mayo can be made 1 day ahead and kept covered and chill in the refrigerator.
To make the meatballs, line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix the ground pork, basil, garlic, green onions, fish sauce, hot chili sauce, sugar, cornstarch, black pepper and kosher salt in a large bowl. Using moistened hands and a scant tablespoonful for each, roll the meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet. Cover and chill the meatballs until you are ready to bake.
To create the ingredients for the sandwiches, toss the grated carrots, daikon, rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for one hour, tossing occasionally. Preheat the oven to 300°. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs. Sauté the meatballs until they are browned and cooked through, turning the meatballs often and lowering the heat if they are browning too quickly, about 15 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to another rimmed baking sheet and place them in the oven. Repeat the process with the remaining meatballs.
Cut each baguette or baguette piece horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave a 1/2-inch-thick shell. Spread some of the hot chili mayo over each bread shell. Arrange the jalapenos, then cilantro, in the bottom halves of the bread shells. Fill each sandwich with 1/4 of the meatballs. Drain the pickled vegetables and place them atop the meatballs. Press on the baguette tops and serve.
The combination of the spicy mayonnaise, the pickled vegetables and the pork meatballs really make this an outstanding sandwich. Sean had the meatballs without the spicy mayo and he really like the flavor of them, comparing it to a nice piece of sausage on a baguette. I really love the way the mayo combined with the meatballs to give a nice spicy flavor and the pickled vegetables just topped it all off for me. The pickled vegetables are a lot like a coleslaw recipe, so you could use coleslaw instead if you prefer that, but using the daikon gives a little bit of heat to the vegetables. I even used the leftover mayonnaise on other sandwiches throughout the week because I like the way it turned out. I think it would be great on a hamburger, which I did not get to try but I think I will next time. Anyway, this was a fairly simple bánh mì to make that had some nice spice to it and some really great flavor.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!