Bánh mì is a generic term in Vietnam for all kinds of bread, its name was derived from the words bánh for bread and mì for wheat. It is also a term used widely outside of Vietnam to refer to a type of sandwich filled with meat and vegetables found in Vietnamese restaurants, eateries and bakeries.
In Vietnam the most common bread is the baguette that was introduced by the French during its colonial period, though it looks similar to the French baguette time and local ingredients had changed it resulting to a smaller sized baguette that is softer, airier with a thinner crust.
Initially these breads were minimalistic like their Parisian counterparts where it was only served with butter, ham or pate. Its main consumers were the affluent people of Saigon who had chosen to embrace French rule. After the French rule the locals started to use more of the local ingredients, condiments and garnishes bringing to life the modern version of this bread.
This bread is almost synonymous to Vietnam as this is one of their most popular dish, usually filled with meats of all kinds but the popular ones are meatballs, pork (steamed, grilled or roasted), liver pâté, pork floss, sardines, tofu, etc. This meat is then accompanied by vegetables and condiments like fresh cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, pickled daikon, chilli sauce, mayonnaise, chillies and cheese.
Today we will be making the meatball version it can be called just as Bánh Mì or in more detail Bánh Mì Xíu Mại which is basically minced pork meatball on bread.
- 600 g minced pork
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalks spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- freshly ground black pepper
- oil, for pan frying
- 2 cups thinly sliced, cucumbers
- 2 cups grated carrots
- ¼ cup rice or cane vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 4 pcs single serve baguettes
- jalapeño, to garnish
- fresh cilantro sprigs, to garnish
- sriracha, to serve
- Combine all meatball ingredients together apart from the oil.
- Using your hands make meatballs roughly 3.5 cm in diameter, set it aside.
- Prepare a pan, add oil then pan fry meatballs until cooked and browned on all sides.
- In a bowl combine vinegar, sugar, salt and sesame oil.
- Add the cucumbers and carrots, toss to coat vegetables evenly. Set aside.
- Combine and mix well Chili Mayo ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Cut each baguette horizontally in half.
- Usually they remove the bread inside and leave a thinner shell but you can leave it there like I did. Spread some Chili Mayo inside, add jalapenos, drain and some pickled vegetables, put 4 to 5 meatballs then garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and more sriracha sauce. Serve.