I have been craving a Bánh mì sandwich for about 2 weeks now. It is an extremely satisfying sandwich; the crunch of the baguette, creamy mayonnaise, heat from the serrano chili, refreshing citrusy notes from the cilantro and the richness of the pork all combine to make kitchen magic.
They sell them everywhere in the Vietnamese section of town about 10 miles from where I live. However close that might seem somehow, as most foodies do, I rationalized that it would be easier and better to go to the market buy the missing pieces and make it myself.
I have never made one myself so the recipe below is mine and mine alone. I left out the carrot because it is my kitchen after all and I couldn’t buy just one carrot. I also substituted daikon radish sprouts for actual daikon radish; sprouts and I typically do not get along. I like the texture and look of them but there is this certain dirty taste to them I cannot shake so I might pluck those off.
The bahn mi came out better than good, but not great – easy fix.
I marinated the pork tenderloin for 2 hours in :
1t minced garlic
1/4 t lime zest
1t chopped cilantro
1/3 cup soy sauce
3T rice vinegar
1/3 light brown sugar – not packed
I grilled the pork tenderloin until it reached an internal temperature of 160 and then removed it from the grill and wrapped it in foil until it settled and reached 170 degrees. So far so good. This was a great pork tenderloin; juicy and flavorful.
I then split the baguette and hollowed out a small trough on both sides. I spread the baguette with a lime mayonnaise (1/4 cup mayonnaise with the juice of one lime) that I added a pinch of salt and 1/3 of a serrano chili minced. This is where I went wrong. The sandwich was missing its signature heat. I wish I had used more serrano and I will for the next one I eat.
I then layered slices of the pork, cilantro and the daikon radish sprouts. Remember when I said I didn’t know how I would like the sprouts? I LOVED them. They provided some of the crunch that was missing with the omitted carrot and had wonderful flavor and texture.