Caramelised pork banh mi

When I start a post here I like to have a story and a recipe in mind. I want this blog to be a combination journal/recipe book. But today I’m breaking my own rules and bringing you a recipe only. I made caramelised pork banh mi last night and we inhaled it so fast I didn’t even stop to take a photo. So not only is there no story to tell, there’s no photos either. This undoubtedly makes me unfit to be a food blogger but honestly, this recipe is so good it’s worth sharing at the expense of my food blogger credentials. Besides, I do have a photo of a market in Saigon that I visited late last year. Imagine eating banh mi and walking through the market and you won’t miss my (totally amateur) food photography at all.

Caramelised Pork Banh Mi (adapted slightly from Food 52)

This is an unbelievably delicious but light dinner and would make for a perfect week night meal. You do have to start marinating about an hour before you want to eat but once the marinading is done (and the marinade itself comes together really quickly) dinner will be ready in mere minutes.

Serves 2

350 g pork fillet (sometimes sold as pork tenderloin)

3 T fish sauce

1 T honey

1 T sugar

2 T soy sauce

2 gloves garlic, crushed

1 spring onion, sliced

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

black pepper

sunflower oil

1 carrot, sliced into match sticks

1/4 c water

1/2 c apple cider vinegar

1 T sugar

1 baguette

lettuce

coriander

mayonnaise, if desired

pate, if desired

1. Slice the pork into 0.5 – 1 cm pieces. If your slices are on the thicker side flatten slightly with a rolling pin or bottle.

2. Place all the ingredients from the fish sauce to black pepper in a non-reactive bowl (i.e. don’t use a metal bowl!). Stir to dissolve the sugar and add the pork. Marinate for up to an hour.

3. While the pork is marinating, start the pickled carrots. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a non-reactive bowl. Add the carrots and leave in the fridge to pickle.

4. Get everything ready to serve. Cut up the baguette into four. Place letter leaves, sprigs of coriander, mayonnaise and pate on the table.

5. To cook the pork, heat a heavy, non stick saucepan or grill pan over high heat. Add 1 T of oil to the pan and when it is hot add half the pork. Cook until caramelised and then turn over. When the second side is caramelised remove from the pan. Repeat with the other half of the marinated meat. I found it only needed 30 seconds to a minute to cook on each side.

6. When the pork is cooked, place it on the table with the pickled carrots. Let everyone put together their own sandwiches, spreading the baguette with mayonnaise and pate (if desired) and then filling with pork, pickled carrot, lettuce and coriander.

Notes

  • Food 52 uses brown sugar and maple syrup, neither of which I had. I went with white sugar and honey instead. I’d be tempted to stick with honey even if I had maple syrup around. It caramelises just as well but the flavour is milder.
  • This is not the place for an artisan sourdough baguette. You want a loaf that has a crisp but thin crust and is soft, light and fluffy inside.
  • I halved the pickle recipe and we had so much left over it would have been plenty for four. The pickle can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
  • To serve four, up the pork to 500 – 700 g and get a second baguette. There is no need to increase the marinade or pickle quantities.
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