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Saigon Subs (Banh Mi)

Banh mi are delectable sub sandwiches popular in Vietnam and a reminder of the strong influence the French have had on Vietnamese cuisine. This sandwich retains a uniquely Vietnamese taste by virtue of its flavorings, which include lemongrass, galangal, and fish sauce, as well as a fresh “salad” of cucumber, radish, papaya, and cilantro.

The following recipe can be found in The Culinary Institute of America's One Dish Meals cookbook.

Saigon sub sandwich bahn mi recipe - F

Ingredients

Viet Cinnamon Pâté

Makes 1 pound

  • 2 tbsp wheat or rice starch
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced lemongrass
  • One 2-inch piece galangal, minced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 lb boneless pork shoulder, untrimmed
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water

Sandwich

Makes 6 Servings

  • 1/4 cup diced seeded cucumber
  • 1/4 cup grated red radish
  • 1/4 cup diced green papaya
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbsp minced scallion
  • 1 tbsp lime juice or as needed
  • 1 tsp hot sauce or as needed
  • 3 baguettes
  • 3 tbsp melted butter, melted
  • 1 lb Viet Cinnamon Pâté, sliced thin

Directions

Viet Cinnamon Pâté

  1. To make the spice paste: Combine the wheat or rice starch, fish sauce, soy sauce, lemongrass, galangal, sugar, pepper, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir well and add cold water a teaspoon at a time to make a loose paste.
  2. Cut the pork into 1/4-inch cubes and add to the spice paste. Turn to coat the pork evenly, cover, and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours. Spread the meat in an even layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Chill the bowl and blade of a food processor and a mixing bowl in the freezer at the same time that you are chilling the pork.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and bring a large kettle of water to a boil for a water bath. Brush an 8-inch loaf pan with oil.
  4. Assemble the food processor. Transfer the semi-frozen pork to the food processor and process until a coarse paste forms, about 1 minute. Transfer ground meat mixture to the chilled mixing bowl and add the ice water (no ice cubes). Mix the ice water into the pork by hand with a wooden spoon until the water is blended into the paste and the mixture is slightly sticky, about 30 seconds.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, packing it into the pan to remove any pockets of air. Smooth the top of the pâté, place the loaf pan in a deep baking dish, and place in the oven. Pour boiling water into the deep baking dish to a depth of 2 inches. Bake the pâté until it is completely cooked (an internal temperature of 150°F), about 35 to 40 minutes.
  6. Cool the pâté to room temperature, remove from the loaf pan, and wrap well. Chill the pâté for at least 8 and up to 12 hours before serving.

Sandwich

  1. Combine the cucumber, radish, papaya, cilantro, and scallion in a small bowl. Add lime juice and hot sauce to taste. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the subs.
  2. Preheat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Cut the baguettes in half, then slice them open horizontally. Brush the insides with the melted butter. Toast the baguettes on the griddle, buttered side down, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the griddle and set aside.
  3. Add the slices of pate to the griddle and cook until hot and lightly colored on both sides, about 2 minutes.
  4. Fill the toasted baguettes with the pâté slices and then top with the cucumber-radish salad. Serve at once with additional hot sauce.

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