As I sat in the restaurant looking at the menu, my eyes zoomed in on the Bahn Mi sandwich. I’d maybe (?) heard of it before, but had never tried one. Seeing “pickled carrots” in the description, I was sold. When I was pregnant and very sick with Jack, one of the first things I enjoyed eating were pickled carrots. Odd. Stereotypical. But delicious. The pickled carrots on this sandwich called to me.
It arrived. I tried it. It was delicious. I aimed to conquer it at home.
The history of Vietnam is um, complicated. At various times over the years, different countries have taken their turn running or ruling it. The French rule of the country heavily influenced this sandwich with the baguette and flavored mayonnaise. The Vietnamese contribution of pickled veggies, cilantro, and flavored meat pair beautifully with the crusty bread. With a little prep work, and a hearty side salad, this sandwich is straight up one of the easiest weeknight meals you could make.
This recipe calls for a baguette, and the fresher the better. I have loved making my own ever since I saw the recipe in this book, and found a baguette pan at Goodwill years ago, but we have used store-bought as well.
The amount of pork I call for seems like a lot, but I like to make a large amount, and then divide it and freeze for other speedy weeknight meals (like this). To make the Bahn Mi sandwiches simple to throw together the day of, pickle the veg, chop the cilantro, and make the garlic mayo the night before.
Bahn Mi Sandwich
A delicious and speedy weeknight meal that pairs various cultures together for a tasty dish.
- 4-6 pounds pork butt
- 1 1/4 tbsp kosher salt, divided (I use Diamond)
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 carrots peeled, cut in to matchsticks
- 1 daikon radish, cut in to matchsticks
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 + 1 tbsp cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 3 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I use Mae Ploy)
- 1/2 cup cilantro, loosely chopped
- 2 baguettes
Place a large crockpot on a cutting board. Rub the pork butt all over with 1 tbsp of kosher salt, and cook in the crockpot on low for 15 hours. Allow to cool a bit, then shred with two forks. Set aside some for this dinner, and then freeze the rest for other meals later on.
Peel and cut the carrots and daikon radish in to matchsticks. In a small sauce pan, heat the apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup of the rice vinegar, salt, sugar, and dill until boiling. Add the carrots and radish, reduce the heat to medium high, and cook for about three minutes while stirring often. Transfer to an empty jar or container with a lid. Refrigerate for a few hours - at least two.
Mix the mayo and garlic, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
In a medium bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, and sweet chili sauce. Add the pork and stir to coat.
Cut the baguettes in to sandwich sized chunks. Take each chunk, and slice it horizontally, leaving part of the bread intact. Add a smear of mayo (barf).
Stuff each sandwich with the shredded pork. Top with cilantro, and some of the radish and carrot mixture.
That's it. You're done. Go eat!
This dinner was a huge hit with everyone in the family. Jack preferred his pork plain, Bennett wanted his sandwich “deconstructed”, and Troy and I just wanted more. And the fact that almost all the components are better when made ahead of time, this is a no-brainer meal for baseball nights. We could all use a few more no-brainer meals in our life, you know?