Vietnamese Pork Bahn Mi with Spicy Peanut Aioli
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Credit: Mai Pham, Chef/Owner, Lemon Grass Restaurant, Sacramento, Calif.
The National Culinary Review, June 2013
2 T. minced shallot
1 t. minced garlic
2 T. soy sauce + extra for garnish
1 T. fish sauce
2 T. light brown sugar
2 T. minced lemon grass
1 T. vegetable oil + extra for grilling/cooking
1 lb. pork sirloin or pork butt, trimmed of excess fat, sliced thin (2 inch x 5 inch x 1/8 inch)
4 (6-inch) baguette pieces, split lengthwise, with half the centers slightly hollowed out
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
¼ red onion, sliced paper-thin, rinsed
10-12 cilantro sprigs
1/3 cup Vietnamese rau ram (or coriander or Thai basil leaves)
½ hothouse cucumber, cut in thin strips
1 jalapeño chili, thinly sliced (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup, or to taste, spicy peanut aioli (recipe follows)
2 cups marinated carrots (recipe follows)
Spicy Peanut Aioli
½ cup mayonnaise
2 T. peanut flour
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. chili paste or dried chili flakes (optional)
½ cup sugar
½ cup white vinegar
½ t. salt
3 carrots, peeled, shredded in matchstick-size strips, rinsed
1. Combine shallot, garlic, 2 T. soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, lemon grass, 1 T. vegetable oil and pork in large bowl. Toss well to coat meat; marinate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat grill to high; rub with oil. Grill pork slices just until done and slightly charred around edges, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat; keep warm.
2. Toast baguette on grill just until warm and crisp. Spread inside of each baguette with peanut aioli. Layer, from bottom up, pork slices, 2 T. peanuts, 1/3 cup marinated carrots, 2 onion slices, 2-3 cilantro sprigs, 2-3 rau ram leaves, 2 cucumber strips and 2 jalapeño slices. Drizzle 1 t. soy sauce on top; add salt and pepper, to taste.
Spicy Peanut Aioli
Method: Combine mayonnaise, peanut flour, olive oil, lemon juice and chili paste in small bowl; stir well. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before using.
Method: Combine sugar, vinegar and salt in small bowl; stir well. Add carrots; toss several times. Marinate for at least 20 minutes. Cover; refrigerate.
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