Saturday, March 19, 2011

Banh Mi Adventure...a Porkalicious Journey into Porktastic Porkocity

This was a monster task for us. Some might say this recipe is completely frightening. Just look at all the ingredients needed!

The Banh mi sandwich resulted from the French colonization of Vietnam. Asian cured and seasoned pork with pickled vegetables on a French baguette (made partly of rice flour to be authentic) with a smear of French pate, kewpie mayo, and Sriracha sauce. Most of these ingredients originated on the other side of the world. When we lived in New York City, we could leave our apartment for a 15 minute walk and return with all of these ingredients and assemble. French baguette? Tons of bakeries just south of Union Square, take your pick. Asian sauces and seasonings? You don’t even need to go to Chinatown. Supermarkets and corner bodegas have that stuff. Pâté? Sold in a vacuum sealed package at any deli counter.
We now live in rural Pennsylvania. You want fresh bread? You’re baking it! The 1 hour drive to Costco will get you the next best thing, at the cost of a few dollars and a quarter tank of gas. Kewpie mayo? or make it. Pâté? There’s scrapple out here but no French pâté. We’re making that too. Pickled vegetables? Start pickling! The mutant cucumbers floating around in the jar of high fructose corn syrup in your grocer’s condiments aisle won’t work here.
For sandwiches on Saturday, you need to start Thursday night after work (using our recipes). That’s when the pickles start pickling, the sponge starter for the bread is made, and the pork butt starts marinating. Friday night, you add flour to the sponge to make the bread dough. Rotate the pork butt that’s marinating/curing in the fridge, and make the pâté and kewpie mayo. Saturday morning, bake the bread and then toss in the pork and turn the oven down to 300F.  You should be ready to assemble your sandwich 4-6 hours later.

Ingredients for Pork:
5lb. bone-in pork butt
2 heaping tbsp. garlic, chopped
2 heaping tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp. red chili flakes
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
a big squirt of Sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
3 tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. mirin
1 heaping tsp. kosher salt
2 scallions, chopped

Mix everything together in a bowl and spread onto meat. Be sure to massage into every crevice and flap of pork flesh. Place into fridge for 36 hours. Keep it covered. Rotate halfway through. Discard excess marinade before roasting.
Roast in an oven for 6 hours at 300F covered in a Dutch oven. Baste every 2 hours. The last hour of cooking should be uncovered. When finished, the meat should fall apart and the bone should easily be removed with little resistance.

Ingredients for Asian Vinegar Pickles:
(Momofuku's recipe)
1 cup water, piping hot from the tap
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
carrots cucumbers, daikon, cut into matchsticks (our produce guy didn't know what a daikon was, so we used regular radishes cut into 1/4" rounds)
big pinch of whole peppercorns

Mix everything together. Put into a mason jar. Put into fridge. The pickles will be ready to eat in about 6 hours and will keep for 4 days.

*Recipe for Pâté
*Recipe for bread (you could really use any kind of CRUSTY hoagie not use a hot dog bun)

Ingredients for Kewpie Mayo:
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 egg yolks
around 1/2 cup canola oil

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients. While whisking, add the oil one drop at a time until mayo forms. You can also do this in a blender or food processor like they do on TV.

How to Assemble Banh Mi:

1) Spread pâté onto one side of the bread.

2) Spread mayo onto other side of the bread.

3) Add in fresh cilantro.

4) Place shredded pork on sandwich.

5) Top it off with pickled veg.

6) Cut in half and insert into mouth.

This was a lot of work, but WELL WORTH IT! ***Note to Kelleny, Chris says this was better than Saigon's (and I gotta say it was definitely up there).

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's quite a claim better than Saigon's... I'll have to try yours someday. Looks amazing, impressive you two!