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bánh mì

“Bánh mì” is considered one of the world’s best street foods, and for good reason, it is one delicious sandwich!

Bánh mì is the Vietnamese word for bread, or more specifically the baguette, which was introduced in Vietnam by the French during their colonial period.

Although the term “bánh mì” itself only means bread, without fillings, the term is used to refer to a type of meat-filled sandwich found in Vietnamese bakeries abroad, especially in the United States, Canada, Australia, and France where there are large Vietnamese populations.

There are countless Vietnamese flavored Bánh mì fillings- such as pork prepared in numerous ways; juicy pork meatballs (xiu mai), bar-b-que pork (thit nuong), shredded pork (bi), and pork roll (cha lua). Also popular are grilled chicken (ga nuong), sardine (ca moi), scrambled egg (trung chien), and vegetarian (chay). The one seemingly surprising but very popular and common ingredient is liver pate.

For today’s recipe, I’m going with my personal favorite – the Xiu Mai or the pork meatball.  I hope my friend, Tram Mai, would approve of my rendition.

I used this cool little kitchen gadget that I’d purchased about a year ago at Sur La Table to julienne the vegetables. What’s so cool about it, is that it spins to reveal three different peeling/slicing edges.

I don’t recall how much I paid for it then (probably too much) but I saw it for sale at Cost Plus World Market, just yesterday. So if you want one – get yours there!

Xiu Mai Bánh Mì

Sriracha Mayo
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1/4 teaspoon salt

Xiu Mai (Pork Meatballs)
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons minced cilantro stems
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon each; salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola oil, for browning meatballs

Fresh cilantro sprigs
1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
4 large radishes, julienned
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 baguette, cut crosswise into four sections

Sriracha Mayo:  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Can be made several days ahead, covered, and refrigerated.

Xiu Mai (Pork Meatballs):  In a large bowl, use your hands to mix all ingredients together. Form into 20 meatballs and place on a plate or baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day ahead.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large nonstick skillet, and add oil, when hot, add the meatballs, leaving space in-between each, in batches if necessary. Cook for about a minute on each side, or until browned nicely.

Transfer to a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes.

Sandwiches: While the meatballs are in the oven, cut each section of the baguette in half and spread a generous amount of the Sriracha Mayo on each side. Add cilantro, thinly sliced jalapenos, julienned carrots, and radish.

Add five meatballs to each sandwich and press on baguette tops.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4

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1 Marissa { 06.04.12 at 10:42 AM }

I want to make this! OMG it looks to good!

2 chefgwen { 06.05.12 at 8:53 AM }

Yum! Looks amazing! (and how come I don’t have that gadget? 😉

3 Linda Hopkins { 06.05.12 at 8:56 AM }

Gwen, you have to be kidding! I have a gadget before you – score! Cost Plus World Market – get there! xoxo

4 Sharon { 06.05.12 at 8:59 AM }

Linda, this looks so gooooood. I’m going to have to get the gardget (and I’m not a gadget girl but not fond of julienning…is that a word?). I love meatballs. I love crusty bread. I love Siracha. I love cilantro. I love rice vinegar. This recipe is made for me. Thank you!

5 Tram Mai { 06.05.12 at 10:41 AM }

Wow!! I could eat the screen! Great job Linda!!! I used to eat banh mi all the time growing up- my favorites are the ones with bbq pork and shredded pork. My mom still does the banh mi with egg often for breakfast! If you want to buy all kinds of banh mi sandwiches, there’s a place in the east valley called Lee’s Sandwiches – it’s a chain. Growing up in southern California, we would always go to Lee’s Sandwiches in Orange County’s Little Saigon to get sandwiches, but mainly the deliciously warm french breads!!! (We always got a minimum of 4!) Thank you Linda for bringing back such wonderfully tasty memories!! 🙂 xoxo

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