Guest Author - Lori Chidori Phillps
Banh Mi Xa Xiu Vietnamese BBQ Pork Sandwiches
With crusty French baguettes filled with Chinese barbecued pork slices and tangy pickled radishes, this Vietnamese version of the BBQ pork sandwich is well-loved.
The Vietnamese are fabulous bakers, thanks largely in part to the lessons imparted by the French who colonized the Southeast Asian country in the 1800s. Vietnamese croissants and baguettes are identical to those found in a French boulangerie, and they provide the perfect foundation for an array of interesting Asian sandwiches. From battered and fried sardines to cured pork roll and pate, Vietnamese sandwiches are becoming a new fast food trend in the southwestern US. The most popular is the barbecued pork sandwich made from sweet, roasted pork and a marinated medley of daikon radish and carrots.
It’s easy enough to make at home, but you must start a day ahead to marinate both the pork and the vegetable pickles. If you bake your own French bread (it’s not as difficult as it seems), be sure to shape yours into thin baguettes. If you don’t, be sure to pick up your baguette soon after it comes out of the bakery oven. Baguettes, like other fat-free bread, do not keep well beyond a day. The perfect baguette has a light crispy crust and fluffy white interior.
Banh Mi Xa Xiu Vietnamese Barbecued Pork Sandwich
crusty thin French baguettes
Chinese barbecued pork, sliced thinly
pickled radish and carrots
fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced thinly, optional
Slice a thin, freshly baked French baguette in half. Top on half with generous portions of Chinese barbecued pork slices, cilantro sprigs, fresh jalapeno pepper slices and pickled daikon radish and carrots. Place the other half of the baguette on top. Enjoy.
Char Siu (Xa Xiu) Chinese Barbecued Pork
3 lbs. pork butt (shoulder)
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
¾ cup hoisin sauce
½ cup dry sherry or rice wine
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 drops red food coloring, optional
½ cup honey (additional)
Blend all ingredients, except meat and ½ cup honey. Rub mixture over the pork. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil and place a baking rack on top of this. Fill the baking pan with ½ inch of water to keep dripping from smoking. Place the marinated pork on the rack and roast for about 45 minutes, basting with marinade as necessary. Brush on remaining ½ cup honey and roast for additional ten minutes. Cool slightly and slice thin.
Pickled Daikon Radish and Carrots
1 lb. white Japanese daikon radish, julienned into matchstick pieces
½ lb. carrots, julienned into matchsticks pieces
1 Tbsp. salt
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup white sugar
2 red Thai chiles, optional
Place the radish and carrot matchstick pieces into a colander in a sink. Sprinkle with salt. Toss the vegetables with your hands. Allow the vegetable sticks to sit and drain in the colander for 30 minutes. Squeeze out liquid. Place vegetable sticks into a sterilized glass jar.
In a small pot, blend together the vinegar and sugar. Heat over low and stir until the sugar is well dissolved. Remove from heat. Break the chilies in halves and add to the hot sugar mixture. Cool. Pour over the vegetables in the glass jar. Cover with lid and refrigerate. Marinate overnight or longer.