The Great Banh Mi Fake Out!

Banh mi

Love Banh Mi sandwiches but find there aren’t any Vietnamese sandwich shops in your area? Heard great things about Banh Mi but never had the chance to try these delectable sandwiches that are part Viet, part French? Curious to learn more? The history of Banh Mi, a product of French Colonialism in what is now Vietnam can be found at this site.

Now, if you’ve got the time and the temperament, you can make everything, including the bread and mayonnaise from scratch. Alas, just do a quick search online and you’ll find a few reputable sources. The recipe I’m posting below is for those of us who want the great taste of Banh Mi but don’t want to spend the whole day making them!

The below recipe will yield about 4 Banh Mi Pork Sandwiches:

4 Bolillo rolls or 2 French Baguette, fresh
1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Premium Pork Regular Roll Sausage
1 ½ cup carrot, shredded coarsely
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup fresh cilantro
1 cucumber, sliced on the diagonal
Kewpie (Japanese mayo) or Best Foods and Maggi Seasoning
8 fresh jalapeños, seeded and sliced diagonally
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili paste
Light soy sauce
Black pepper

Preparation: Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. To save time, start with the carrots. Shred coarsely or slice into matchsticks, according to your preference. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt and bring to medium high heat. Toss in the carrots and turn off the heat and cover with lid and let sit. Slice cucumbers, jalapeños and pick and rinse cilantro, pat dry. If you are using Best Foods mayo, combine 4 tablespoons with ½ teaspoon Maggi Seasoning and stir well. If you’re using Kewpie brand mayo, leave it as-is.

For Pork Filling:
Cook Jimi Dean sausage in a cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan, over medium-high heat. Add in minced garlic and chili paste halfway through the cooking process, about 4 minutes in or once the meat has started to brown well. *At this time, it’s good idea to get your sliced baguette or bolillo rolls into the oven. Cook the sausage for a total of 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain on paper towels.

For Bread: Slice bolillo (found at Mexican bakeries) or baguette open and place face down on clean oven rack to toast lightly. Toast for 5-7 minutes or until the surface of the sliced side of bread is just crisp and the center is still soft.

To Assemble: Remove bread from oven. If using baguette, slice in half crosswise to give you approximately two foot-long sandwiches. Let cool for one minute only. Top with mayo, then pork, then drained carrots, then cilantro, then cucumbers and repeat those layers according to taste. Hint: more layers means more flavor! Sprinkle with soy sauce and black pepper as desired. Close with toothpick and serve. Enjoy!

For sides: If you want, you can pair Banh Mi with anything from French fries, to cold potato salad, to a nice cabbage salad, to spring rolls. Vietnamese or Chinese beer is excellent with Banh Mi!

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