Pork Meatball Banh Mi

     Have you ever heard of a Banh Mi? I had not until just very recently. I was looking for something Vietnamese or Thai to cook. Nothing struck my fancy from my cookbook collection ( I have a number of Southeast asian cookbooks that have great recipes. But I have read over them so often, I wanted a fresh take on things). And so I turned to Epicurious and  glad I am that I did. A whole new world of sandwiches came into view! I quite literally stumbled on the Banh Mi recipe and was led to another web site - Not sure how I got there, I couldn't retrace my steps so I could give an accurate map. Anyway - a great site called Battle of theBanh Mi has quite a bit of info on these tasty sandwiches, along with several recipes.

     So what is a Banh Mi? It is describes as a Vietnamese hybrid sandwich, Vietnamese baguette sandwich and French-Vietnamese sandwich. It is, I suppose, best served on a true Vietnamese baguette, which differs from the French version by often containing rice flour. But, small town almost central Illinois does not have such a thing as a Vietnamese baguette. So I will have to content myself with the French style found here. The filling for this sandwich can be chicken, shrimp, pork, beef, vegetarian. Toppings generally include a spice mayonnaise, pickled carrots and daikon (radish), hot peppers and cucumber slices.
     Epicurious actually had 2 recipes for this sandwich, a pork version from Bon Appetit and a chicken version from Gourmet. I chose to make for my first Banh Mi, the pork version because I had pork I needed to use.  I present to you:

                                             Pork Meatball Banh Mi          as presented on Epicurious. Serves 4
photo by ric w

For the Hot Chili Mayo:

2/3c mayonnaise
2 green onions, finely chopped
1T hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)    see my post from      for a sriracha recipe

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground pork
1/4c finely chopped fresh basil
4 cloves garlic minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1T fish sauce ( such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1T hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)  -see 12-27-09 post for recipe
1T sugar
2tsp cornstarch
1tsp freshly ground black pepper
1tsp coarse kosher salt

For the Sandwiches:

2c coarsely grated carrots
2c coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish)
1/4c unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4c sugar

Pickled veggies and Hot chili Mayo

1tsp coarse kosher salt
1T Asian sesame oil
4 10" long individual baguettes
Thinly sliced jalapeno chilis
16 large fresh sprigs cilantro


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

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" meatballs. Attange on baking sheet. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

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

Preheat oven to 300 drgrees. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of meatballs. Saute until brown and cooked through, turning meatballs often and lowering the heat if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to another rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

Cut baguette in half. Pull out enough bread from each half to leave 1/2 inch thick shell. Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell. Arrange jalapenos, then cilantro, in bottom half. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables, place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.  *** I would also add a few cucumbers for a crisp and clean crunch. This is not in the original recipe, but I think it adds a "little something" - that crunch, which I really enjoyed.

Serve and enjoy.

     This particular version has all the attributes so important to asian cooking: hot, salty, sweet and sour. 

I plan to try a number of other Banh Mi recipes in coming days. I'll keep you posted.

AND---- The temperature got up to 40 plus degrees today with lots of sunshine!! How great that was after the last weeks of COLD!  Hurrah!!!!!