Cook Time: 1 hour
Making good banh mi at home is quite easy, but can involve a bit of preparation. Simply put, you can make it as simple or thorough as you want or have time for.
Making Banh mi preparation easier is all about nailing down the assembly. Once you have your basic pantry items for banh mi, it won’t take that much more effort. The carrot and daikon pickles can be made ahead of time and be stored in the fridge for about 1 month.
- 3 Tbs sugar
- 2 tbs warm water
- 2 lbs cubed pork belly (about 1 inch cubes) — Vegans, substitute with seitan
- 2 large shallots, minced (about 3-4 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoons oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- about 1 or 1.5 cups of water
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Banh Mi Assembly (not all required, some are optional):
- 1 french baguette
- pickled carrots and daikon (recipe, below)
- fresh cilantro
- soy sauce
- pork liver pate
- thin slices of chili pepper
- thin slices of cucumber
For the nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce)
- Add sugar and water to heavy bottom sauce pan. Heat pan on medium heat and let sugar melt. As sugar begins to melt, the mixture will begin to turn to a golden brown. Using wooden spoon, stir the mixture occasionally.
- Do not leave the caramel sauce unattended! Once the sugar begins to melt, it will turn color very quickly. As soon as the mixture turns to a medium golden brown, immediate remove pan from heat.
- If the mixture is still too thick, SLOWLY and CAREFULLY add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes more watery consistency. Adding the addition water to the HOT caramel will splatter, so be careful. Quickly mix with a wooden spoon so that there are no hard lumps. When finished, set aside.
For the Pork:
- In medium to large sauce pan (or dutch oven), turn on heat to medium. Heat oil, then add shallots. Slowly cook shallots for about 1 minute, then add garlic. Cook both until they become soft and fragrant. Add pork belly. Cook pork belly for about 10 minutes or until all the edges are seared and browned.
- Add fish sauce and cook pork belly for about another 5 minutes. Add about 1 cup of water. If you need more water to cover the pork, add more until the pork is covered. Add the peppercorns. Turn heat to low and cook for about another 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Then add the caramel sauce.
- Continue braising the pork on low heat for about another 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until pork is tender. Stir occasionally.
For the Banh Mi assembly:
- Slice baguettes lengthwise. Add the ingredients that you want (or like) to the banh mi. Add slices of the pork belly.
PICKLED VEGGIES FOR BAHN MI
1/4 lb. cucumber, julienned
1 lb. daikon, peeled and julienned
1 lb. carrots, peeled and julienned
2 tsps kosher or sea salt
1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Make sure the vegetables are fairly dry (pat them dry) so they don’t dilute the pickling liquid with excess water. Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water together until the sugar dissolves. Place the vegetables in a jar large enough to fit them all and pour the pickling liquid into the jar so that all of the vegetables are submerged. Store them sealed in the jar in the refrigerator for 5 days for best flavor.