Ultimate Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi Recipe & Pairing Guide

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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We’ve all had those moments when we crave something utterly satisfying and deliciously unique, and that’s where the Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi comes into play. This sandwich is a symphony of flavors and textures, marrying the richness of homemade mayonnaise with the vibrant, fresh ingredients typical of Vietnamese cuisine. It’s not just a sandwich; it’s an experience, one that takes you straight to the bustling streets of Hanoi or Saigon with just one bite.

The Banh Mi holds a special place in our hearts, not only for its taste but for its fascinating history. Born from the fusion of French and Vietnamese culinary traditions during the colonial period, this dish is a testament to the power of cultural exchange. It’s amazing how something as simple as a sandwich can tell such a rich story. So, let’s dive into making our own version of this beloved street food classic, ensuring every bite is packed with flavor and history.

Ingredients

Diving into the heart of making a Banh Mi starts with gathering fresh, quality ingredients. Here’s everything you’ll need to assemble your Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi, a sandwich that’s both a flavor adventure and a nod to history.

For the Vietnamese Mayonnaise

  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
  • Salt, to taste

For the Pickled Vegetables

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced daikon radish

For the Pork Filling

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 long French baguette, split lengthwise and lightly toasted
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Thinly sliced jalapeño peppers
  • Soy sauce and Sriracha, for serving

Gathering these ingredients is the first step toward creating a vibrant, satisfying Banh Mi. Each component, from the homemade Vietnamese mayonnaise to the tangy pickled vegetables and savory pork, plays a crucial role in delivering an authentic experience. As we proceed, we’ll dive into how to bring these elements together into one harmonious sandwich.

Necessary Tools and Equipment

After gathering our fresh, quality ingredients for the perfect Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi, it’s essential we equip ourselves with the right tools to bring this culinary masterpiece to life. Crafting an authentic Banh Mi is an art that requires precision, and having the necessary tools and equipment at our disposal ensures a smooth and enjoyable cooking experience. Here’s what we’ll need:

Knives and Cutting Board

  • Sharp Chef’s Knife: Essential for thinly slicing the pork and chopping herbs precisely. A sharp knife makes prep work easier and safer.
  • Serrated Knife: Perfect for slicing through the crispy baguette without crushing it. This ensures our Banh Mi has that signature crunch with each bite.
  • Cutting Board: A large, sturdy cutting board provides ample space for prepping our ingredients. Opt for bamboo or wood to keep our knives in good condition.

Mixing and Measuring Tools

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accuracy is key when it comes to balancing the flavors in our Vietnamese mayonnaise and pickled vegetables. Measuring cups and spoons will help us get the proportions just right.
  • Mixing Bowls: We’ll need a few mixing bowls of various sizes for mixing the mayonnaise, marinating the pork, and pickling the vegetables. Glass or metal bowls are ideal as they don’t absorb flavors.

Cooking Equipment

  • Grill Pan or Skillet: A high-quality grill pan or skillet is crucial for achieving that perfectly seared and juicy pork filling.
  • Baking Sheet: For toasting our baguettes, a baking sheet lined with parchment paper will ensure they’re evenly crisped to perfection.
  • Vegetable Peeler: A sharp peeler makes quick work of creating uniform carrot and daikon radish strips for our pickled vegetables.
  • Jar or Container: We need a jar or airtight container to pickle the vegetables, ensuring they soak up all those wonderful flavors before being added to our sandwich.

Equipped with these tools and equipment, we’re now ready to dive into the succulent world of making Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi. Each tool plays its role in simplifying the process, from prepping our ingredients to assembling the final sandwich, allowing us to focus on the joy of cooking and the vibrant flavors of our creation.

Make-Ahead Instructions

To ensure your Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi comes together seamlessly, some components can be prepared ahead of time. This not only saves you time but also allows the flavors to meld beautifully.

Preparing the Pickled Vegetables

Begin by slicing your choice of vegetables, typically carrots and daikon radishes, into matchsticks for quick pickling. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of warm water, ½ cup of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt until everything is dissolved. Add your sliced vegetables to the mixture, ensuring they’re fully submerged. Cover and let them sit in the refrigerator. Ideally, they should pickle for at least an hour, but for best results, leave them overnight. This process not only softens the vegetables but also infuses them with a tangy sweetness that’s signature to a Banh Mi.

Marinating the Pork

For the pork, start with slicing 1 pound of pork tenderloin into thin pieces. The thinner they are, the more flavorful and tender they’ll become. In a mixing bowl, create your marinade by combining 3 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 2 minced garlic cloves, and a bit of pepper to taste. Add the pork slices to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well-coated. Cover the bowl and let the pork marinate in the refrigerator. For the best flavor immersion, we recommend marinating overnight. This step not only tenderizes the pork but also deeply ingrains it with the aromatic and savory flavors essential for a mouthwatering Banh Mi.

Preparing the Pork Filling

After marinating the pork to infuse it with a rich blend of flavors, we’ll walk through the process of cooking it to perfection. This step is crucial for creating that savory, umami-filled bite that’s characteristic of a classic Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi.

Marinating the Pork

To ensure our pork is bursting with flavor, we start by marinating it. Following our previous step of mixing fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, and a punch of black pepper, we now place our pork tenderloin slices into this marinade. For best results, make sure each slice is well-coated. We recommend marinating for at least 30 minutes, though if you have time, letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator will deepen the flavors even more. Remember to cover the bowl with plastic wrap or place the slices in a zip-top bag to ensure the pork marinates evenly.

Cooking the Pork

Once our pork has soaked in all those wonderful flavors, it’s time to cook it. We begin by heating a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add the marinated pork slices in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. We cook the slices for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until they’re beautifully browned and cooked through. The key here is to achieve a slight char on the edges for that authentic Banh Mi taste, all while ensuring the pork remains juicy and tender on the inside.

After cooking, we let the pork rest for a couple of minutes before slicing it into thinner strips, if desired. This not only makes the pork easier to layer in the baguette but also allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring each bite is as flavorful as the last. Now, with our pork perfectly cooked and full of umami, we’re ready to assemble our Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi with all its delicious components.

Assembling the Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi

After marinating and cooking the pork to perfection, we’re now ready to bring all the components together to assemble our Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi. Let’s dive into the process of layering flavors and textures to create this iconic sandwich.

Preparing the Vietnamese Mayonnaise

First, we’ll prepare the Vietnamese mayonnaise, which adds a creamy and tangy element to the Banh Mi. You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 1 finely minced garlic clove

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients until well blended. The lime juice adds a zesty brightness, the soy sauce a touch of umami, and the garlic a punchy depth. Stir until the mixture is smooth and taste to adjust the seasoning if necessary. This mayonnaise will act as the glue that brings together the different components of the Banh Mi with its rich and savory flavors.

Toasting the Bread

Next, let’s toast the bread for our Banh Mi. Ideally, you’ll want to use a light and airy baguette that’s crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Slice the baguette lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through, keeping one edge attached to act like a hinge.

Toast the baguette in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until it’s just crisp on the outside. This step not only warms the bread but also gives it a delightful crunch, providing a lovely contrast to the tender and moist fillings.

Layering the Ingredients

Now comes the most satisfying part: layering the ingredients. Open your toasted baguette and spread a generous layer of the Vietnamese mayonnaise on both sides. Then, begin layering with the cooked pork slices, ensuring every bite will have a piece of that savory goodness.

Next, add the pickled vegetables, distributing them evenly for a sweet and tangy crunch in every bite. It’s crucial not to skip this step as the pickled vegetables provide a refreshing contrast to the rich pork and creamy mayonnaise.

Layer on thinly sliced cucumbers for a crisp freshness, followed by a few sprigs of cilantro. The cilantro adds a burst of herbal brightness that elevates the sandwich.

Optionally, for those who enjoy a bit of heat, thinly sliced fresh jalapeños can be added to taste.

Close the baguette and press down gently to compact the fillings slightly, making the Banh Mi easier to handle and bite into. Your Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi is now ready to be enjoyed, bursting with a symphony of flavors and textures that make this sandwich truly special.

Serving Suggestions

After meticulously preparing the Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi, filled with marinated pork, pickled vegetables, and a zingy mayo spread, it’s time to talk about the best ways to enjoy this delightful sandwich. Pairing it correctly can elevate the dining experience, embodying a balance between the Banh Mi and its accompaniments.

Perfect Pairings

To complement the rich and vibrant flavors of the Banh Mi, we recommend serving it with light and refreshing sides. A simple green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette or a cucumber salad tossed with rice vinegar can offer a crisp contrast to the Banh Mi’s depth of flavor. Both options provide a refreshing palate cleanse between each flavorful bite of the sandwich.

Drink Pairings

The selection of the right beverage to go with your Banh Mi is crucial for enhancing the overall meal experience. A cold glass of jasmine or green tea can harmonize with the sandwich’s flavors, adding a touch of sweetness to balance the savory and spicy notes. For those preferring a more robust option, a Vietnamese iced coffee, known for its strong and sweet profile, can serve as a perfect match, offering a refreshing cooldown.

Side Snacks

For a truly authentic experience, consider including a side of prawn crackers or crispy spring rolls. These crunchy snacks offer a delightful texture contrast and are perfect for nibbling on the side. They’re easy to share and can keep the conversation flowing as you enjoy the variety of textures and tastes on your plate.

Conclusion

We’ve walked through every step of creating the perfect Vietnamese Mayonnaise Banh Mi, from marinating and cooking the pork to the final assembly with its rich layers of flavors and textures. Toasting the baguette and making our own Vietnamese mayonnaise truly sets this sandwich apart. Pairing it with light sides or refreshing drinks can turn a simple meal into an extraordinary dining experience. Whether you’re enjoying it with a crisp salad, sipping on jasmine tea, or indulging in some crispy spring rolls on the side, this Banh Mi is sure to delight your taste buds. Let’s embrace the joy of making and sharing this delightful sandwich, celebrating the vibrant flavors that make it so special.

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