Banh Mi Subs Made Healthy

>> Thursday, May 2, 2013

Banh mi sandwiches have been quite the rage these last couple years because it is truly one of the few foods that have existed way before the whole fusion movement. One could say it’s one of the original fusion foods. Made with different types of cured meats, layered with Asian pickled vegetables, jalapenos, cilantro and all stuffed inside a crispy French baguette. Nobody can deny that it makes a tasty combo. However, it’s not exactly the healthiest for you due to the processed meats, pate, mayo etc that’s added in for flavour and not for health. The good news is its extremely easy to switch out ingredients to make it healthy yet not lose the tastiness of the sandwich.

Many (especially food trucks) have taken this twist on the banh mi sandwich to a whole new level with creations such as satay, vegetarian, grilled chicken, really…anything goes! So I decided to play around with several simple yet quick recipes to find my own healthier version and came up with the following. It works for either when you have a bit of preparation time or if you’re in a bind but still craving a homemade viet sub, but note, it’s still quite time consuming so I wouldn’t recommend it for a 20 min dinner occasion (yes we all have those nights…).

Pickled Vegetable Ingredients:
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup carrots, cut
1/4 cup white daikon, cut
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced

Pickled Vegetable Preparation:

In a sauce pan, mix together rice vinegar, water, and white sugar.

Set over medium heat and bring it to a slow simmer. Remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Combine the carrots, daikon and onions in a medium sized bowl. One that is large enough to submerge all the vegetables in the vinegar mixture.

When the vinegar has cooled down, pour it on the vegetables until they’re fully submerged.

Set aside for at least 30 mins, but better if it can be left overnight for the flavours to really penetrate. Place plastic wrap over the mixture and put it in the fridge overnight.

When ready for use, pour out the vinegar and set the veggies aside.

Pork Ingredients:
1lb pork tenderloin or boneless pork chop
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili garlic sauce (optional)

Pork Preparation:

Cut the pork tenderloin or pork chop in to slices.

In a bowl, combine the garlic, dark and light soy sauce, fish sauce, pepper, sugar and chili sauce (if using).

Allow the pork to marinate at least 30 mins or overnight if possible.

Once ready, heat a pan or wok, pour in a bit of oil (~1 tbsp), add the pork and allow it to brown a bit. Turn down the heat if the pork browns too quickly. It needs to cook through evenly so the center also cooks without just burning the exterior.

Taste and adjust with a bit of salt and pepper if necessary. Continue to cook the pork until the juices evaporate.

Set aside and allow it to cool slightly.

Banh Mi Ingredients:
French baguette
Light mayonnaise
Cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
Jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut thinly


Slice the baguette (highly recommend baking your own baguettes, and I have a great recipe, but I guess that's another blog for another time) lengthwise but not all the way through, open it up and slightly toast it for 2 mins or so.

Once ready, spread the baguette with a bit of light mayo.

Add a bit of pork, top with the pickled vegetables, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and a cucumber slice.

Serve and enjoy!

Should make 4 good sized portions!


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