Sooo… remember that chicken liver pâté I made? Yeah…I made that *just* so I could make this.
Don’t judge me.
I have a love/hate relationship with sandwiches. For most of high school I worked at Subway as a “sandwich artist”, and now I can’t walk past a Subway without dry heaving. True story. Ask my friends. I didn’t (and still can’t, really) have those types of deli sandwiches without gagging. No Quiznos, no Port o’ Subs, no Jersey Mikes.
However, I do love me a good Vietnamese sammich, so I thought it was a good time to try my hand at some homemade banh mi.
Is it easier to just go down to one of a million banh mi shops here in San Diego and spend $2.50 and get a bangin’ ass sandwich? Yes. Will it be as good as this one? NOPE.
Pickled veggie time!
Time to build the sammich.
Lemongrass Pork Banh Mi
For lemongrass pork
2 lbs boneless pork butt or thinly sliced pork chops (cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, 8-inch length by 2 1/2-inch width)
1/2 cup minced lemongrass (about 6-8 stalks)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
3 shallots, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
For pickled veggies
1 1/2 cups carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 1/2 cups turnip*, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks (see note)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
To assemble sandwiches
1-2 good crusty baguettes, depending on length
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
5 jalapeno chilies, de-seeded and thinly sliced
Maggi seasoning (optional)
Chicken liver pate (optional)
For the lemongrass pork
Lightly pound the pork slices with a mallet/back of the kitchen knife. In a bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients well. Put in the pork slices and marinade for at least 1-2 hours, overnight if possible. Discard excess marinade before use.
Preheat grill until ready to use. Wipe off excess marinade and gently arrange marinated pork slices onto the grill. Grill until the pork is nicely charred on both sides and meat is thoroughly cooked. If use indoor broiler oven, broil for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the meat is completely cooked and nicely charred.
For pickled veggies
Place the carrot and turnips in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Use your hands to knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, expelling the water from them. They will soften and liquid will pool at the bottom of the bowl. Stop kneading when you can bend a piece of turnip so that the ends touch but the turnip does not break. The vegetables should have lost about one-fourth of their volume. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently to remove extra water. Transfer to a 1 quart container.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, vinegar, and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the vegetables. The brine should cover the vegetables. Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
To assemble the sandwiches
Cut 6″ length of baguette and split lengthwise. Slather both sides in butter and place on grill until toasted. Spread mayonnaise on one side of the toasted bread, followed by a few sprinkles of Maggi. Spread other side of baguette with chicken liver pate and top with thinly sliced jalapenos.
Back on the mayo/Maggi side, add cilantro leaves and well-drained pickled veggies. Top with lemongrass pork.
Scratch up the entire roof of your mouth with this sandwich. It’s totally worth it.
The pickled turnips should really be daikon but I couldn’t find any at my local grocery and didn’t feel like trekking to 99 Ranch. You can use radish, daikon, turnip, whatever you can get your hands on. You can also just buy pre-made pickled veggies from the store (but you see how easy the recipe is… just make it yourself n shit).
Maggi is optional. But I love that stuff.
Pate is totally optional. But I love that stuff.