My Version of a Banh Mi : An Asian Style Meatball Sandwich

If I understand this right, Bahn Mi, means bread in Vietnamese, but it is now widely known as a pork sandwich with pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. There are many variations and can be found in big cities and Vietnamese restaurants, none of which are close to my house. So I needed to give it a try on my own and here is what I came up with. I of course did not have the wonderful crispy baguettes from a Vietnamese bakery so I had to do with what Publix was selling. Still they came out delicious and my family loved them, the combination of spicy, sweet, and savory is all here on one easy sandwich. Wake up your taste buds and give this a try, I will warn you though they can be addictive.

Pork Meatballs

1.5 lbs ground pork or pork and beef mix

1 egg

2 T soy sauce

1 t sriracha sauce ( use hot sauce if this is unavailable)

1 t dried cilantro (or 2T fresh chopped)

1T fresh lime juice

3/4 c Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, wet hands and roll into balls, I used about 2-3 tablespoons of meat mixture per meatball so that it would fit onto my buns.

Cook for 20 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle.

Pickled Vegetable Topping

1 c shredded carrot (or matchstick carrots)

1 cucumber sliced lengthwise with a vegetable peeler (or shredded)

1/2 red onion thinly sliced

2 jalapenos sliced thinly

1/4 t salt

3 T vinegar

2T sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a med sized bowl

Place Meatballs on roll or baguette, top with pickled vegetable mixture and top with fresh chopped cilantro and basil. If you want more heat mix 2 T mayo with 1 t sriracha sauce and spread on roll before serving.

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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle: Everyday, Everyday, Everyday… Everyday I make the Soup

Just indulge me on the title, I was at the Elvis Costello concert last night. I got the tickets last minute and was excited but it was on a Tuesday and I still had to make dinner for the kids and us before we went to the show. I didn’t want anything too heavy, there might be dancing and drinks to be had. But I still wanted a one pot type meal that I didn’t have to worry about and that was easy to clean up. This soup has a light tasting, gingery broth and the fresh herbs and vegetables give it flavor and texture without weighing it down and its relatively quick and easy.

32 oz low sodium chicken broth

1/2 yellow onion finely chopped

1/4 c peeled and minced ginger ( I used a microplane grater)

3 cloves of garlic minced

1/4 cup sliced carrots, about 2

1T fish sauce (found in asian section of grocery store)

1t Sriracha sauce (or any hot sauce)

1/2 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

3c water

3 boneless chicken breasts cut into bit sized pieces

1/4 pound vermicelli/angel hair pasta broken in half

1/2 cup fresh spinach roughly chopped

2T fresh cilantro

2T fresh basil

2T sliced green onions

In a large pot or dutch oven combine the 1st 11 ingredients (stop before adding the noodles) bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat until chicken is done about 15 minutes, Add pasta noodles and cook until tender.

Put soup into bowls and add chopped fresh vegetables and herbs right before eating, the hot soup will wilt them slightly. You could use any herbs, sprouts, lime wedges etc… I used what I had on hand and in the garden. This also allows each diner to customize their soup, much like a taco.

Stir and enjoy. Oh and by the way Elvis Costello puts on a great show and still sounds amazing.