Banh Mi


Friday night in our house is take-away night.  However, living as we do on the very edge of the west coast of Ireland where the next village is Greenwich, New York, the choice of actual take-away is fairly limited so we make our own.  It’s the perfect little treat to end the working week and I tend to keep it simple but tasty – like homemade pizza with chilli and basil, yuk sung or juicy griddled chicken and pineapple with satay sauce.  The common theme is a bit of heat, lots of flavour and not too much effort.  Banh Mi fits the bill perfectly – it’s a Vietnamese sandwich consisting of crusty fresh baguette, spicy meat, crunchy pickled carrot and cabbage, creamy mayo and hot hot chilli sauce.  For the meat element I make spicy pork meatballs but you can use any meat you want, as long as there is lots of flavour.  Whilst the meat should add some spice to this the real heat comes from the chilli sauce and I use Sriracha, which is fast becoming one of my favourite things.  It’s a seriously hot inexpensive Thai sauce and leaves behind a tingle to the mouth that has to be good for you!  It’s available in Asian supermarkets and I got mine in Eurasia on the Fonthill Road in Dublin.  Just one tip on the roll – proper Banh Mi calls for crusty French baguette and some of the inside bread is scooped out to leave a shell to hold the fillings.  If you are really lucky to live near a great bakers and can get your hands on good baguettes then perfect, but the ones available around here are a certain brand that is part-baked in store and too heavy and dense for my liking so I use fresh salad rolls from the local bakers that have the requisite crisp outer crust and a really light interior so I don’t bother to scoop any bread out as they squish down perfectly to accommodate all of the filling when you take a bite.  There is enough here to serve 4 which means that in my house there is usually leftovers for a Saturday afternoon lunch for me too.  I use three meatballs per roll (in the pic above I have cut each meatball in two so there are six halves spread out on the roll).[Read more…]