Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Leftover Bliss: Bánh mì Sammiches

I know I've said it once already, but I really had no idea how much I'd love Chinese barbequed pork. Interestingly enough, one of the reasons is because it has such incredible versatility as leftovers.  Particularly in the form of a sammich.

Let's start off with a confession. Since neither of us had ever eaten bánh mì before, we couldn't exactly use our taste memories as a starting place for putting them together.  Instead, we did a little bit of reading.  And we discovered lots of great guidance... and quite a bit of fuzzy advice.   Some of the best we found was at Viet World Kitchen, where they give a nice description of the history of bánh mì , as well as a master recipe you can use to create your own fanciful version of this incredible sammich.


Seems everyone has their favorite way to make bánh mì (I've even read of some people putting peanut butter on their sandwiches!) -- though there are a few constants: a nice, crisp (but not too crusty) roll; some sort of thinly sliced, grilled meat (or tofu),  pickled veggies (usually daikon and carrots), sometimes cucumbers, some sort of spicy componant, mayonnaise, and cilantro.

We had the meat covered. We'd definitely be using our leftover Chinese barbequed pork.  But, what about the rest of the ingredients?

We started with the bread. Bolillo rolls seemed as if they would be a good bet for our sammiches (crisp, but not too crunchy, and beautifully soft in the middle), and I knew a local source for them. Unfortunately, we got to the grocery store pretty late after work that night, and we were sad to discover that the supply of Mexican bolillo rolls was already depleted.  We ended up settling for a soft French roll -- which wasn't quite crisp on the outside.  Passable, but not great. Next time we'll have to think ahead and get to the store earlier in the day.

Cilantro, cucumbers, and mayo were easy.  But, what about the pickles? And the spice?  We opted for spicy kimchi --which seemed to cover both elements.  And we headed home to make our sammiches.

We grilled the rolls on a buttered skillet, just to give them a bit of crispness. And we whipped up a bit of garlic mayonnaise to spread onto the rolls.  A few slices of cucumber, a nice pile of thinly sliced pork, a few scoops of kimchi, and a liberal dose of cilantro, and we were all set.

The sandwiches needed a bit of smooshing in order to get them into our mouths.  The mayo eeked out of the corners, and the juice from the kimchi dripped down onto our hands.  But, we gobbled eagerly, sopping up the drippings with spare bits of bread.  The sandwiches were superb -- salty, sweet, spicy, and fragrant, they captured all the best elements of each ingredient and pulled them together in a tasty serenade.  We couldn't get enough. We ate them for dinner on Wednesday night... and then again for lunch on Saturday.


Now I'm actually lamenting the fact that I don't have more pork left.  I was really looking forward to a batch of pork fried rice... or maybe just another bánh mì.

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24 comments:

  1. Yummy! I became addicted to banh mi this year, oh so good

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  2. I've never had banh mi. I'll have to try it now.

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  3. I have yet to eat a bahn mi. It should be on my must-try list for 2010. Great way to use up the pork.

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  4. Just another reason to dust off my recipe...for sure to try it now after my cold wears off! Bahn Mi was the foodie piece de resistance a couple years ago, but I never tried it either. I kind of felt like I did from reading about it so much.

    Also, love the action/eating shot! Now I KNOW they were great!

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  5. Yum! I love banh mi, but I love your twist with the garlic mayo. Perfect!

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  6. I love a sandwich I have to smoosh together to get my mouth around it.

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  7. I love turning leftovers into sandwiches!

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  8. well done! the banh mi roll is different from most western breads because it contains mixture of wheat and rice flour, and often with very little airy filling. Kimchi is a nice substitute for the pickled carrots/daikon.

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  9. Banh mi is high on my list of foods to try this year - heard so many good things!

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  10. There is a food cart right in Hanover Square off of Wall Street where people wait in line for up to an hour on summer days for this sandwich! THe sad part is...gulp...I don't like cilantro!!!!!

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  11. That looks very delicious. I love all the herbs added.....beautiful flavour. And kimchi....ooooh...that's my favourite. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. On my first trip to Vietnam, I was amazed by the baquettes carried in baskets by bicycle peddlers, street vendors and every eatery. Same surprise with coffee. Then the colonial history of french occupation/colonialization was explained, so suddenly the french icons in a tropical climate made sense. So, the french bread may be more accurate than you thought. Sounds good.

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  13. boy that looks great. I love sandos and those look super yum. I've got to get better at cooking asian food. I love to eat it.

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  14. I recently tried bahn mi - there was a recipe in Bon Appetit - maybe December or even January's? It used turkey meatballs and it was delicious - I agree - perfect combo of flavors!

    Here is mine:
    http://biz319.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/bahn-mi/

    Next time I'll use a softer bread, but it was good!

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  15. I have never had it before either - but I will say YES to anything w/ kimchi !!! I love that stuff!

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  16. I haven't had this sandwiches for a while, they are awesome :-)

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  17. Looks amazing, love to try it especially with all that cilantro...my fav.

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  18. Have I been living in a cave? I do know I am ordering this dish this weekend!! :D

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  19. Oh, I am definitely saving this. If you and Peef loved it, I know that it will be a hit in my house!

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  20. Looks wonderful! I love the "taking a bite picture".

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  21. Hi there! Wow, you do love Asian food, don't you? :)And you make it very well. I was reading your previous post on all the yummy food you cooked and I was totally blown away.

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