Awhile back, Spouse and I went to a popular local restaurant and I ordered a banh mi sandwich for the first time. It was seriously one of the two best sandwiches I've ever had (the other being a Cuban sandwich at a place which is sadly now closed). The freshness and crunch of the vegetables against the richness of the pork (protein options vary) really appealed to me. And of course, THE BREAD. You just can't beat crusty French bread, in my opinion!
If this is a new sandwich to you, here's a quick description and picture.
What is in a banh mi sandwich?
The Vietnamese sandwich, sometimes called a "bánh mì sandwich", is a product of French colonialism in Indochina, combining ingredients from the French (baguettes, jalapeño, and mayonnaise) with native Vietnamese ingredients, such as coriander, cucumber, and pickled carrots and daikon.
I recently ran across a recipe for a Banh Mi Rice Bowl on Skinnytaste, an attempt to make this sandwich a little less carb-intensive. Now it's debatable how many carbs you actually save with the bowls (which include brown rice) versus the sandwich, but OH, MY GOODNESS...this recipe is fabulous in its own right! Even if you only make the pork and use it in another way, it would be great.
I've hesitated to try making traditional banh mi sandwiches because the recipes all seemed a bit time-consuming, but this one calls for putting the pork in the crock pot which makes it super-simple. Other than grating the carrots (which somehow turned my kitchen into a war-zone!!!), it was a very simple process. AND SO GOOD! This recipe is definitely a keeper.
For the pork:
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce*
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 radishes, cut into matchsticks
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup thinly sliced English cucumbers (about ½ small)
- 1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- Season the pork with salt and pepper and place into the slow cooker. Combine the garlic, jalapeno, soy sauce and brown sugar and stir to dissolve, pour over the pork.(NOTE: If your slow cooker runs hot, add 1/4 cup water). Cover and cook on low for 6 hours until the pork is very tender, turning once half way through if desired. When the pork is ready, shred the meat. Reserve the sauce.
- Meanwhile, while the pork is cooking, make the pickled carrots and radish: In a medium glass bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Add the carrots and radish and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Drain well and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To assemble the bowls, place 3/4 cup rice in each bowl, top each with about 2 1/2 oz pork, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce then top with the 1/4 cup shredded cabbage, 1/4 cup pickled carrots, 1/4 cup cucumber, sliced jalapenos and cilantro.