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David Ross

Cook-Off 60: Banh Mi

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I was in Boston's Chinatown today and stopped in Mei Sum on Beach:

Banh Mi Mei Sum 1.jpg

note the authentic rubber band. The second one is for dessert. Inside:

Banh Mi Mei Sum 2.jpg


Edited by rotuts (log)

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My second Banh Mi, #2 as it were, was loosely based on #1--Same French Roll from the Vietnamese bakery in Seattle, roast pork, pickled carrot, cucumber, radish, lots of cilantro and mint, sriracha mayonnaise, liver pate and Maggi. But I changed up a few things--

-I thinly sliced the cucumber in cross-slices this time instead of lengthwise, but I kept the cucumber raw, not pickled with the carrot.

-Instead of daikon, I used fresh red radishes, sliced thin and left unpickled.

-Only cilantro and mint this time, no basil, (and it wasn't missed).

-Instead of homemade chicken liver pate, I tried two different pork liver pates-

-A canned liver pate made in Canada that was on the shelf at the Asian grocery store. Didn't like the flavor--it was very strong

and had that "canned" almost metallic taste. One only knows how long it's been in that can.

-Oscar Mayer "brunschweiger" liver sausage, a pate really, often known as the dreaded liverwurst. If I had ever brought a

liverwurst sandwich into the school cafeteria when I was a kid I would have been run out of the place. Never ate it until last week.

Now I love it--fresh tasting, not overly strong and with a good mix of spices and not a lot of sugar. Just right--and much better

than my chicken liver mousse in Banh Mi #1.

And then there was the pork. That wondrous pork based on a recipe from one Thomas Keller's "ad hoc at home" cookbook. A pork

recipe that will last through the ages--and will now be a feature at one of my upcoming cooking classes. I dream of a month from now when I'll make this pork and serve it with fresh Washington huckleberries.

Keller's recipe is called "Confit of Pork Belly" and as is his wont, Chef Keller cuts no corners--the recipe involves few ingredients but demands perfect technique and develops over the course of literally days.

I started with a nice piece of pork belly from the Asian Market. I worried it was too thin in terms of not being meaty enough, but in the end it was just the right size for what would end up in the Banh Mi-

Banh Mi #2 003.JPG

Leaving the skin on, or rind as we call it in my neck of the woods, the pork belly was submerged in melted lard and put in a 200 oven, covered, to poach in the fat for about 6 hours-

Banh Mi #2 009.JPG

The cooked pork belly "confit" out of the oven-

Banh Mi #2 015.JPG

Then placed in a heavy casserole and the strained, melted fat poured over-

Banh Mi #2 021.JPG

Then covered loosely with plastic and weighed down with a smaller casserole filled with cans of beans to press down on the pork

belly. Into the fridge for four days of chilling-

Banh Mi #2 024.JPG

Porky doesn't look to appetizing at this point. He's been washed of his fat bath and he knows what is coming next-

Banh Mi #2 029.JPG

Just what pork confit should look like-

Banh Mi #2 031.JPG

I finally discovered what I was doing wrong when cooking pork belly. Why was that "rind," (skin), as tough as boot leather? Listen to Chef Keller my dear boy-"cut the skin off before you cook the pork belly confit." Duh. Here is the pork belly confit, cut then cubed-

Banh Mi #2 033.JPG

Then into a hot pan, skin side down, seasoned with some pepper, heat turned down to medium, and sauteed until the skin turned brown and started to crisp. Then into the oven, broiler on, pan on middle rack, and broiled for about 3-4, minutes, (you decide how long it takes), to finish crisping and browning the pork belly confit-

Banh Mi #2 039.JPG

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That pork looks spectacular. I think that sometimes we idealize foods that are foreign to us. Think what someone from abroad would make of a Philly Cheesesteak or just a grinder or sub sandwich, So many possibilities and levels of execution. However - I want to eat the sandwich you just posted. As to herbs I only ever see cilantro here in the Viet expat capital general area,

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And here's the assembly of my Banh Mi #2-

I cut some of the bread out of the inside of the roll, all the more room to stuff in meat, vegetables and condiments-

Top layer, mayonnaise, cilantro and mint-

Banh Mi #2 045.JPG

Then radish and cucumber-

Banh Mi #2 048.JPG

And pickled carrot-

Banh Mi #2 050.JPG

Bottom layer spread with pork pate-

Banh Mi #2 051.JPG

With far too much delicious pork belly-

Banh Mi #2 053.JPG

Banh Mi #2 061.JPG

So it's obvious that I've tinkered with tradition here, but in the end, using tradition as the base to adapt the Banh Mi into a contemporary sandwich that fit my tastes worked out just fine--and I gained a new friend that works in the Asian market where I bought the bread and the pork belly--she invited me to come back after hours for a personal lesson in making Banh Mi.

Any other Banh Mi adventurers out there?

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I make banh mi for my boyfriend's Vietnamese family occasionally because you can get it here otherwise. Mine is completely traditional with red pork belly (simmered in coconut water) pickled carrot and daikon, erc. The only herb I use is cilantro and I use soy sauce not maggi.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1346967241.508948.jpg

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Banh Mi in the boondocks... living out in the middle of nowhere has its advantages, but not when getting the ingredients for Banh Mi!

I read this thread, and it reminded me of the lunchtime Banh Mi pilgrimage when I worked in Springvale about 16 years ago.

After driving for an hour to go shopping, the ingredients that I managed to rustle up were: sous vide pork belly from my freezer, home made mayo, liverwurst from Aldi (Heathen I hear you all screaming!), parbake dinner rolls, fresh carrot, cucumber and coriander.

Out with the Thai cookbook and I plagiarized the quick pickle recipe to steep the carrot and cucumber for an hour or so.

After baking the rolls, smearing on the mayo and ersatz pâté, i piled in the carrot, pork belly, cucumber and coriander with a splash of dark soy sauce.

Sorry for the lack of photos, but the wife and kids devoured the lot faster than I could assemble them. I doubt that they could compare with the real thing, but they tasted great.


Edited by Simon Lewinson (log)

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I make banh mi for my boyfriend's Vietnamese family occasionally because you can get it here otherwise. Mine is completely traditional with red pork belly (simmered in coconut water) pickled carrot and daikon, erc. The only herb I use is cilantro and I use soy sauce not maggi.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1346967241.508948.jpg

I like the idea of simmering the pork in coconut water. Do you have a recipe for us?

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I make banh mi for my boyfriend's Vietnamese family occasionally because you can get it here otherwise. Mine is completely traditional with red pork belly (simmered in coconut water) pickled carrot and daikon, erc. The only herb I use is cilantro and I use soy sauce not maggi.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1346967241.508948.jpg

I like the idea of simmering the pork in coconut water. Do you have a recipe for us?

I use a recipe by Luke Nguyen - he calls it "thit ba roi" but that is just Vietnamese for belly meat. Here is the recipe - it is amazing and the smell when cooking is out of this world.

1/2 tsp red food coloring (I use extra and I put it in with the coconut juice otherwise the meat doesn't get red enough)

2 1/4 pound pork belly

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp five spice

4 cloves garlic - finely chopped

1 Tbsp salt

4 cups coconut juice (I find that two young fresh coconuts provide enough water - the ones with the white rind)

Mix the food coloring with 1 Tbsp of cold water. Brush onto the pork belly until well colored. Combine soy, five spice, garlic, and salt. Massage it into the pork belly and let marinate for an hour.

Bring the coconut water to a boil in a large plan. Meanwhile roll the belly (skin side out) tightly and tie. Add to boiling coconut water (this is when I add extra red food coloring to the water). Return to boil then lower heat to simmer. Simmer belly for one hour turning often.

Allow to cool in the juice then slice as needed. Keeps four days in the fridge but also freezes ok.

This produces pork belly that tastes identical to the red skinned pork belly you get in the best Banh Mi shop in Cabramatta Sydney (Vietnam town).

You can also chop it and serve with rice or rice noodles with fish sauce dipping sauce. Yum!

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Yet another attempt at Banh Mi for lunch today.

Preparation work was making a batch of mayonnaise with eggs fresh from the chicken coop, vacuum pickling slices of cucumber and carrot and slicing up the sous vide Vietnamese caramel pork belly that I cooked a couple of days ago. Yesterday's job was to make some chicken liver pâté.

Two dozen par-bake mini dinner rolls were duly baked and cut, home made mayonnaise spread inside the top, pâté on he bottom. Pickled carrot and cucumber, a sprig of coriander, a couple of leaves of Vietnamese mint and then some thinly sliced pork belly. Sprinkle lightly with some light soy sauce and let the piranhas descend.

image.jpg

Thankfully I managed to get a photo before my 17 year old son devoured over half of them.

The complexity added by the caramel pork belly was fantastic, hints of lemongrass and chili with subtle bitter and sweet notes from the caramel sauce made this a real hit.

Simon

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8678412277_61ceb28b87_o.jpg

This was done for dinner earlier this week -- a "Florida-Style" Banh Mi, LOL.

Bread is a whole wheat hoagie roll, not French bread. Meat is BBQ smoked bacon-wrapped pork and chicken meatballs that are flavored with scallion, garlic and hot chiles and a pork BBQ rub seasoning, finished in a soy/pineapple juice/honey/chili coconut water hot sauce glaze. Sandwich has a sriracha/lime/mayo accompanied with pickled onions, chopped fresh pineapple, cilantro, mint and thin sliced jalapeno peppers.

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8678412277_61ceb28b87_o.jpg

This was done for dinner earlier this week -- a "Florida-Style" Banh Mi, LOL.

Bread is a whole wheat hoagie roll, not French bread. Meat is BBQ smoked bacon-wrapped pork and chicken meatballs that are flavored with scallion, garlic and hot chiles and a pork BBQ rub seasoning, finished in a soy/pineapple juice/honey/chili coconut water hot sauce glaze. Sandwich has a sriracha/lime/mayo accompanied with pickled onions, chopped fresh pineapple, cilantro, mint and thin sliced jalapeno peppers.

Wow again, another example of how versatile and delicious this sandwich can be. I especially like your sauce and mayonnaise.

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Andrea Nguyen has a new cookbook, The Banh Mi Handbook.  Lots of cook-off worthy recipes there, most likely. I'm considering it...

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Andrea Nguyen has a new cookbook, The Banh Mi Handbook.  Lots of cook-off worthy recipes there, most likely. I'm considering it...

Thanks for the heads up on this. Her books are usually excellent.

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I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon. Looking forward to receiving it!


Edited by ElsieD (log)

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A great idea from Andrea's web site (and it's in the book):  banh mi crostini

 

I'd been looking for ways to use surplus pate, and this struck me as brilliantly simple and delicious. Sorry for the sloppy photo:

 

DSCF1584.JPG

 

If you have appropriate leftovers, it is easy and quick to put these together: season some mayo, make some quick pickles (I used cukes and carrots), slice some jalapenos and snip some cilantro. In little time, I had bite-size banh mi flavor, perfect for snacking or offering with drinks.

 

Of course this isn't just for leftovers, you can make fillings specifically for a banh mi party as Andrea did.

 

 

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A great idea from Andrea's web site (and it's in the book):  banh mi crostini

 

I'd been looking for ways to use surplus pate, and this struck me as brilliantly simple and delicious. Sorry for the sloppy photo:

 

attachicon.gifDSCF1584.JPG

 

If you have appropriate leftovers, it is easy and quick to put these together: season some mayo, make some quick pickles (I used cukes and carrots), slice some jalapenos and snip some cilantro. In little time, I had bite-size banh mi flavor, perfect for snacking or offering with drinks.

 

Of course this isn't just for leftovers, you can make fillings specifically for a banh mi party as Andrea did.

This looks excellent and certainly overcomes the problem of being unable to find/make banh mi bread!

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A great idea from Andrea's web site (and it's in the book):  banh mi crostini

 

I'd been looking for ways to use surplus pate, and this struck me as brilliantly simple and delicious. Sorry for the sloppy photo:

 

attachicon.gifDSCF1584.JPG

 

If you have appropriate leftovers, it is easy and quick to put these together: season some mayo, make some quick pickles (I used cukes and carrots), slice some jalapenos and snip some cilantro. In little time, I had bite-size banh mi flavor, perfect for snacking or offering with drinks.

 

Of course this isn't just for leftovers, you can make fillings specifically for a banh mi party as Andrea did.

That's a great dish--Banh Mi Crostini.  Wonderful idea for a party.

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I dont really want to Huff and Puff here too much:

 

but I noticed something while in BOS at the dentist:

 

I stopped by my favorite Banh Mi establishment in Chinatown.

 

I got a double order of the 'traditional' Banh Mi, w extra mayo/pate and lots of green chili.

 

after all, after the Titanium was Screwed In, I thought Id be 'out of Oral Commission' for a Bit

 

I ate both in a little part in Chinatown  ( Cement , cement tables w some sort of Chinese Game etched on the top )

 

beautiful day.  shade  nice breeze

 

I needed that breeze as the small part was ( as usual ) will with Old Gents playing That Game

 

some sort of circular brown 'checkers' w symbols on them

 

and enough second hand smoke for a life time

 

but to get back to what I noticed :

 

in Chinatown BOS  no one seems to make the Bahn Mi ingredients.  at lease not the pate nor the 

 

pork terrine , you know the one with the crunchy Pig Ears in them etc

 

and the bun  

 

( point of my story , finally ) also was not made by the vendors.

 

the key seemed to be the heating up so all the crust could rain down on you !

 

Im no expert baker, but this seems to be the point of at least the BOS Banh Mi buns.

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I dont really want to Huff and Puff here too much:

 

but I noticed something while in BOS at the dentist:

 

I stopped by my favorite Banh Mi establishment in Chinatown.

 

I got a double order of the 'traditional' Banh Mi, w extra mayo/pate and lots of green chili.

 

after all, after the Titanium was Screwed In, I thought Id be 'out of Oral Commission' for a Bit

 

I ate both in a little part in Chinatown  ( Cement , cement tables w some sort of Chinese Game etched on the top )

 

beautiful day.  shade  nice breeze

 

I needed that breeze as the small part was ( as usual ) will with Old Gents playing That Game

 

some sort of circular brown 'checkers' w symbols on them

 

and enough second hand smoke for a life time

 

but to get back to what I noticed :

 

in Chinatown BOS  no one seems to make the Bahn Mi ingredients.  at lease not the pate nor the 

 

pork terrine , you know the one with the crunchy Pig Ears in them etc

 

and the bun  

 

( point of my story , finally ) also was not made by the vendors.

 

the key seemed to be the heating up so all the crust could rain down on you !

 

Im no expert baker, but this seems to be the point of at least the BOS Banh Mi buns.

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I have loved banh mi since this, my first one, in NYC's Chinatown in 2006:

IMG_0772 (3).JPG

 

Here are some of the offerings of Duong Phong bakery and restaurant in the far east area of New Orleans. The banh mi sandwiches in the lower part of the picture are great, and cheap (sorry, no photos unwrapped). Not only do they have ,in my opinion, the second best banh mi in the NO area, but they also supply the bread to most of the other restaurants in town that have banh mi:

2013-06-08 12.59.54.jpg

 

My favorite banh mi in NO comes from Hong Kong Market on the westbank. They bake their own break as well and are also ridiculously cheap considering the quality of the sandwiches. As seen in the picture, their English isn't quite at the level of their sandwich making!

IMG_7974.JPG

 

Unfortunately, the only picture I have of an actual banh mi I made is one is one of my first attempts a few years back (a solid C-) :

2012-01-05 20.49.15.jpg


In recent years there have been a lot more restaurants offering banh mi, and presenting them with non-traditional fillings. A local food writer dubbed the vegetarian/Indian one at Pagoda Cafe one of the best dishes he had eaten all year:

 

"Indian Banh Mi with Phyllis’ green chutney, honey roasted beets, pickled and raw vegetables and arugula "

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WoW

 

you've got me going reviving this thead

 

I get exceptional BinMi in ChinaTown  BOS

 

but Id like to taste one of yours w the 

 

"" Ponk ""

 

properly done, as delicious as can be

 

you must get the kind that the curmbs from the bread get "" all over you """

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17 minutes ago, rotuts said:

WoW

 

you've got me going reviving this thead

 

I get exceptional BinMi in ChinaTown  BOS

 

but Id like to taste one of yours w the 

 

"" Ponk ""

 

properly done, as delicious as can be

 

you must get the kind that the curmbs from the bread get "" all over you """

I have never seen a crumbless banh mi!

 

These pics are from the Hong Kong Market's Yelp page. Look at those ridiculous prices.

568ac7f215304_o(3).jpg.169b1f95dddea2285568ac7ebdb6a7_o(2).jpg.4f5a00609d3a3800d568ac7f74b3f5_o(5).jpg.17c17fc64b3dda02do.jpg.20b35fdbc1210aab7e6193ee32fc2714.j568ac7e846bc7_o(1).jpg.95f48f2639f367341

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