When I was doing my CNA training through the Red Cross I met a girl named Tam Tam who was Vietnamese. She grew up there and moved to Philadelphia in her teens. I asked her about my beloved banh mi and once she figured out what I was talking about because my inflection, or lack there of, made what I was trying to say incomprehensible, she laughed. Apparently, in Vietnamese “banh mi” means nothing more than “bread.” In the US, however, banh mi has come to mean much more than bread. It is a delicious savory sandwich with pork, fresh cilantro, pickled radish, and cucumber and mayonnaise based spread. My first taste of banh mi came when I was working at Whole Foods and our Prepared Foods Department had a special pop-up sale. These flavorful sandwiches became a favorite! This recipe is inspired by on of my favorite bloggers. Hope you enjoy!
1lb ground pork
2 Tbsp. fresh or frozen lemongrass (or paste if you can find it)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. Siracha chili paste, or similar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. coconut sugar (any kind will do, really)
2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 tsp. salt
Quick-pickled radish and carrots:
2-3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup coconut sugar (granulated will work too!)
1 tsp. salt
Cilantro, be generous
Red cabbage, sliced
Green onion, sliced
Sriracha mayo (mix a generous squirt of Sriracha with a spoonful of mayo + a spoonful of greek yogurt)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Roll into meatballs of desired size, I got 14 using 1lb of pork. Heat a skillet with oil and add meatballs, browning on outside until cooked through.
Combine all ingredients and let sit for 1 hr or longer.
Bowls: Assemble all ingredients on a plate and top with spicy mayo. Enjoy!