Bánh Mì Sandwiches with Pork, Pickled Vegetables and Herbs

  • For the Pork
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2.5cm piece root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh coriander leaves and stalks
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (preferably Vietnamese)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 500g pork fillet, well trimmed and cut on the diagonal into long, thin slices
  • Groundnut oil, for brushing (if necessary)
  • For the Pickled Vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 small red Thai chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and pared into ribbons (preferably with a swivel vegetable peeler)
  • 1 cucumber, pared into ribbons (preferably with a swivel vegetable peeler)
  • For the Chilli and Coriander Mayonnaise
  • 1 mild green chilli, halved and seeded
  • 1 small handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 120g mayonnaise
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • For the Sandwiches
  • 6 small crusty baguettes (petit pains)
  • Few dashes Maggi sauce (optional)
  • 3-4 iceberg lettuce leaves, shredded
  • 1 mild red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Spring onions sliced diagonally, to serve

1. To prepare the pork, bash together the garlic, ginger, peppercorns, coriander leaves and stalks and spring onions in a pestle and mortar until you have a smooth paste. Add in the fish sauce and honey and mix through. Place the pork in a bowl and add three quarters of the paste, reserving the rest.

2. To make the pickled vegetables, dissolve the salt and sugar in the rice vinegar and then fold in the carrot and cucumber ribbons. Set aside for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.

3. To make the chilli and coriander mayonnaise, blitz the mayonnaise with the chilli and coriander. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the lime juice, then chill until needed.

4. When the pork has marinated (overnight if possible), thread the slices onto skewers and set aside on a plate.

5. Cook the pork over a high heat on a barbecue or a lightly oiled cast-iron griddle pan for 2 minutes on each side until cooked through and sizzling. Baste with the reserved marinade to create a sticky coating.

6. To assemble the sandwiches, split open the rolls and slather one side of each one with the chilli and coriander mayonnaise and sprinkle the other with a few drops of Maggi sauce. Add the shredded lettuce followed by the drained pickled vegetables. Top with a warm pork skewer and scatter over the slices of green chilli. Eat soon, while the pork is still warm and the lettuce and pickled carrot are still nice and cold.

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