I could have gone to one of the wonderful butchers in town, who would have ground up some locally sourced fresh pork for me, but being in a hurry I just grabbed ground turkey instead. Turkey works.
Pickling sounds complicated, but in this case all it entails is dissolving equal parts unseasoned rice vinegar and sugar, adding salt, and tossing it all with the grated or thinly sliced vegetables. The vegetables pickle while sitting on the counter for about an hour. All you have to do is toss them a bit if you are walking by.
For a printable version of each recipe, click on the file below it.
Vietnamese Pork Meatball Banh Mi
1 recipe Vietnamese pork meatballs
1 recipe Quick-Pickled Napa Cabbage and Carrot Salad
1 recipe hot chili mayo
4 mini-baguettes, or 2 large baguettes
You can go all out and put sprigs of cilantro, slices of jalapeno, or other pickled vegetables on your Banh Mi, but let's keep it simple.
My version of Banh Mi was adapted from Jeanne Thiel Kelley's recipe in the January 2010 issue of Bon Appetit.
Vietnamese Pork Meatballs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped (Buy a bunch; you'll need 2more for the sauce).
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 Tbsp. hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
sesame oil, for frying (not toasted or flavored sesame oil), or canola oil
- Gently mix all ingredients (except for the oil) in a bowl.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
- Using wet hands, use a tablespoon to scoop up meat and form a 1 inch meatball. Place on a baking sheet.
- Heat sesame or canola oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add about half the meatballs to the pan (they should not touch in the pan) and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.
- Place cooked meatballs on another baking sheet, and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.
Quick-Pickled Napa Cabbage and Carrot Salad
- 2 cups carrots, shaved into long pieces with a vegetable peeler
- 2 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (about half of one large head)
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
- Add the vinegar, sugar and salt to a large bowl. Stir to dissolve.
- Add the vegetables, and toss well.
- Let sit for at least an hour at room temperature, tossing it if you are around. You can make this ahead and keep it in the refrigerator; it stays crispy for several hours.
Hot Chili Mayo
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise (lowfat or regular)
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
- Stir all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Taste. Add salt if needed, or more Sriracha sauce.
- Can be made up to a day ahead; store tightly covered in the refrigerator.