Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich
We love Lee's Sandwiches #5 Grilled Pork Banh Mi's!  Having visited several Lee's chains, the best one thus far is located in Alhambra, CA.  The grilled pork is sweet and savory, the sweet and sour pickled carrots and daikon pair perrrfectly with the pork and fresh baked, crisp baguette.  My mouth is watering as I type.  It's a heavenly sandwich.  Hits all the right taste buds... in a very happy way.

Ingredients (serves 2)
Sandwich

  • 1 (20-inch) fresh baked, soft and crusty, French baguette - cut in half, then split in half lengthwise, leaving one side intact (so it opens like a hot dog bun, see photo below)
  • 8 cilantro sprigs, whole
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • mayonnaise, to spread
  • Sriracha hot sauce, to serve 

Grilled Pork

  • 1 pound pork butt, cut into 1x1-inch cubes (eyeball it)
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce 
  • ½ teaspoon sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon ground Chinese Five-Spice
  • 1 teaspoon rice flour
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Pickled Carrots and Daikon

  • 1 pound daikon radish, peeled, cut into -inch wide by 3-inch long sticks
  • ½ to ¾ pound carrots, peeled, cut into -inch wide by 3-inch long sticks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup filtered water

 

Directions
1.  Make Pickled Carrots and Daikon the night before (can keep up to 2 weeks stored in refrigerator).  

  • Place carrots and daikon in a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle in salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar.  Mix together with your hands.  This is done to release excess liquids from the vegetables before pickling.  The vegetables will begin to "water" up in a few seconds.  Allow to sit for 8 minutes, turning them every so often.  Rinse vegetables under running water and drain well in colander.
  • Transfer vegetables to a glass storage container (must be a glass jar or Pyrex container, anything glass, due to the acidic liquids), which will JUST FIT the vegetables snugly.  In another bowl, mix 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar, apple cider vinegar and water - stir until sugar has dissolved.  Pour liquids over vegetables in glass container.  Cover with airtight lid.
  • Store in refrigerator for at least a few hours prior to using, but for best results, allow to sit overnight.  Will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

2.  Cook Grilled Pork right before assembling Banh Mi sandwich.

  • Marinate pork with salt, sugar, soy sauce and garlic for a few hours or overnight.
  • Heat over medium-high, a wok or skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add pork and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked through (if not sure, you can check by cutting into one - juices should run clear, not pink).

3.  Assemble sandwich.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place baugettes directly on oven rack and bake for 3 minutes.
  • Assemble each sandwich:  Spread mayonnaise on cut sides of baguette, half of Grilled Pork, a cup of drained Pickled Carrots and Daikon, 4 sprigs of cilantro, 6 jalapeno slices.

 

Serve with a bottle of Sriracha hot sauce and Vietnamese Iced Coffee!