Traditionally prepared with pork belly, bánh mì is a speciality Vietnamese sandwich (it also happens to be the Vietnamese term for “baguette”). This version still highlights pork, but in the form of pan-seared meatballs, piling them high alongside a fresh mint and carrot salad, jammy caramelized shallots, and Sriracha mayo. A marriage of the meatball sub and the classic bành mì, this sandwich is spicy, sweet, crunchy, juicy, and pretty much unforgettable.
2½ tablespoons canola oil
10″ medium nonstick pan
3 limes, divided
½ ounce cilantro
½ ounce mint
2 scallions, divided
3 shallots, divided
2 French bread rolls
1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
10 ounces ground pork
¼ cup shredded carrots
3 ounces spring mix lettuce
4 teaspoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon raw sugar
Incorporate meatball ingredients without overmixing. Using your hands to loosely pack each meatball ensures maximum juiciness.
We’re scooping out the centers of the bánh mì rolls to make room for the hearty toppings. Feel free to snack on them!
Rinse all produce. Halve limes. Roughly chop cilantro and mint leaves, discarding stems. Trim and discard scallion roots and thinly slice. Peel shallots and mince. Slice rolls open horizontally, if they arrived whole, and place cut-side down in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat. Toast until golden and warmed through, 2-3 minutes, then wrap in foil to keep warm until ready to assemble. Reserve pan for cooking meatballs.
While rolls toast, in a large bowl, combine 1 teaspoon sesame oil, half of scallion, half of shallot, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Pat porkdry with paper towel and add to bowl. Using your hands, mix well, then form into 6 equal balls, about 1 inch thick (see Recipe Tip).
Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in pan from buns over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add meatballsand sear, flipping occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8-10 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving pan for making shallot jam.
While meatballs cook, in a large bowl, whisk together juice of 1 lime and remaining sesame oil. Add carrots, lettuce, cilantro, and mint and toss to coat. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. In a small bowl, stir together Sriracha, mayonnaise, juice of ½ lime, and remaining scallion to combine.
Heat ½ tablespoon canola oil in pan from meatballs over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add remaining shallot and cook until soft and translucent, about 1 minute. Add juice of remaining limes and sugar. Cook until shallot is very soft and mixture is thick and jammy, about 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Using your hands, scoop out a small amount of inside of rolls (see Recipe Tip). Spread Sriracha mayo on 1 side of each roll, then top the other side with shallot jam, and then a handful of salad. Divide meatballs evenly between the sandwiches. Serve pork meatball bánh mì with remaining salad. Dig in!
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