March 26, 2010

Love Affair with a Sandwich

I'm not in the habit of mastering exotic cuisines.  It's so unsatifying to cook up a craving, only to be disappointed by the results, I'd rather leave it up to the experts.  But people, such is not the case for this sandwich.

Banh mi are delicious.  Banh mi are cheap.  Unfortunately, there are no Vietnamese sandwich shops that sell banh mi near my house.  There is a shop right near my school, K Sandwiches, that used to be convienent, but with all my classes being online this semester I just can't make myself drive 10 miles for a $2 sandwich. Enter Bon Appetite magazine.  While the recipe is a little fussy (especailly when you're cutting the veggies into a julienne by hand, sans mandoline), it's pretty straight forward and the ingredients aren't hard to track down in a grocery store.  Typical me made a few changes to the original recipe (julienne the veggies instead of grating, used plain mayo instead of one seasoned with Sriracha) based on personal preference and to better match the specimens I've bought in the past.

The result?  A party in my mouth!  The meatballs are flavorful and not a bit dry.  It's got all the elements: savory, spicy, sweet and sour.  D. says he'd happily eat this every day, and I've got say, I'm pretty impressed by the results too.

Pork Meatball Banh Mi
Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2010

makes 6 sandwiches

1 pound ground lean pork
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil


2 cups julienned carrots
2 cups julienned daikon radish
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
6 6-inch French style sandwich rolls
2-3 jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Toss carrots, daikon radish, rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Gently mix all the meatball ingredients in large bowl, excluding sesame oil. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet.

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 roll in half horizontally, not quite all the way down.  Spread mayonnaise generously over one half of the roll. Fill each with meatballs. Arrange jalapeños, then cilantro along one side of the meatballs and the drained pickled vegetables along the other.  Serve with Sriracha at table.


  1. All I can say is those were some mighty fine eats.

  2. Absolutely a "love affair with a sandwich." Could not be a better description than that! These are spectacular. Did not have ground pork, so we used ground turkey. Again, spectacular.