Banh Mi Sandwiches (with leftover pork)
Pork is a versatile protein when it comes to leftovers, especially in Asian dishes. We have used leftover pork for stir fry, moo-shoo pork, and pork fried rice (post coming soon!), just to name a few. This sandwich recipe is yet another good use of leftover pork, with an Asian flair. I was inspired to try making Banh Mi sandwiches at home after having one from a little soup & sandwich shop in Brooklyn while visiting Dan’s brother, his lovely wife and adorable son earlier this year. Although not authentically Vietnamese, the sandwich was delicious and didn’t seem like it would be all that difficult to make, especially using pork that had already been cooked. There are a lot of Banh Mi recipes out there, but it seems like a common thread among most of them is pickled carrot and daikon (a type of radish.) The remaining sandwich components vary and should depend on what you have on hand and your taste preferences. The pickled veggies sound a little strange, but their sweet/sour flavor balances really well with salty pork, fresh lettuce and spicy jalapeno. We’ll definitely make this sandwich again.
The first time we made Banh Mi sandwiches, we researched several recipes (including this one) and decided to use the following ingredients to fill the sandwich: leftover pork, green leaf lettuce, cilantro, jalapeno, shallots, cucumber, green onions, and carrots and daikon pickled in vinegar, water, sugar and salt. We also mixed up a little Asian sauce to drizzle over the finished sandwich.
To pickle the carrots and daikon, start by heating the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil until the sugar and salt are dissolved and the liquid is clear. (Pro Tip: if you aren’t paying close enough attention to the recipe and use 1/2 CUP of salt instead of 1/2 teaspoon, it will take a really really long time to dissolve. If ever.) Set the mixture aside to cool.
These are daikon (daikons?), which we found at our local Central Market. Turns out that they don’t look like radishes at all. More like the carrot’s older, creepy cousin. Wash off the dirt and peel them like you would a carrot.
Cut the carrots and daikon into thin strips.
Once the pickling liquid is cool, add the carrots and daikon to the liquid and marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you are marinating for longer than 30 minutes (up to overnight), place the bowl in the fridge to keep the veggies crisp.
Slice the green parts of the green onions lengthwise into thin strips.
Cut the jalapeno into thin circles. We de-seeded the jalapeno first so it wouldn’t be quite as spicy.
Slice the shallots into thin strips.
Tear the lettuce into medium-sized pieces and pull some cilantro leaves off their stems. We also cut some cucumber into thin half-circles. We assembled the ingredients in one place for building the sandwiches.
To make the sauce, mix together sriracha, soy sauce and fish sauce (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores.)
Cut the pork in thin slices, then heat it in the oven or microwave until it is just warm. We used this pork, which already had some Asian flavor. But if you’re using pork with a more bland flavor or want to add more Asian kick, double the recipe for the sauce and drizzle some of it over the pork before you re-heat it.
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on each half of the bread and bake it in the oven preheated to 400 degrees until the bread is hot and crusty — about 5 minutes.
Load up the sandwiches with the warm pork, pickled carrots and daikon and the remaining veggies.
Drizzle some sauce over the ingredients and serve. It may not seem like much, but this is one of our favorite sandwiches that we’ve ever made at home, and it’s more than enough for a full meal. We love this sandwich for the unique combination of ingredients — tons of fresh, crisp veggies (no side dish necessary!), tangy Asian flavors, toasty bread and delicious use of leftover pork. Plus it reminds us in a small way of one of our favorite places and people to visit.
Banh Mi Sandwiches (with leftover pork)
For the slaw:
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 carrots, sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 – 1 daikon radish, sliced into thin strips
For the sandwiches:
- leftover pork, thinly sliced
- thin-crusted french or baguette bread, sliced into halves for sandwiches
- green leaf lettuce, torn into medium-sized pieces
- cilantro leaves
- jalapeno, de-seeded and sliced into thin rings
- cucumber, sliced into thin half-circles
- 2-3 green onions, green parts sliced thinly lengthwise
- shallot, sliced into thin strips
For the sauce:
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and heat to a boil until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Set the liquid aside in a bowl to cool. Add the sliced carrots and daikon to the bowl and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. If marinating for longer than 30 minutes, place the bowl in the refrigerator.
- Prepare all the remaining sandwich ingredients. Heat the sliced pork in the oven or microwave until just warm.
- Combine the ingredients for the sauce. Double the recipe if you want to add some of the sauce to the pork while it re-heats.
- Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on each half of the bread and bake in the oven preheated to 400 degrees until hot and crusty — about 5 minutes. Assemble the sandwiches starting with a layer of pork, followed by the pickled carrots and daikon and the remaining sandwich ingredients. Serve immediately.