Friday, April 20, 2012

First time having Banh Mi is
satisfying with meatball-filled baguette

I’m was quite sure I’d never had Banh Mi before, so the recipe’s name, Meatball Banh Mi (click for the recipe), immediately caught my attention.
   So did the introduction to the recipe in Eating Well magazine: “This banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) is filled with zingy slaw and chicken-and-pork meatballs spiked with fresh herbs.” Sounds good, right?
   Upon further investigation, I found that "Banh Mi" is Vietnamese for sandwiches that combine ingredients that originated in France, such as baguettes, pâté or mayonnaise with Vietnamese ingredients like cilantro and pickled carrots. Pork is the most common meat filling.
   This certainly checked out with Meatball Banh Mi. The recipe calls for baguettes, mayonnaise, ground pork, chile-garlic sauce, water chestnuts, daikon radish, carrots, cucumber and cilantro (although we skipped the cilantro because we both hate it!)
   The resulting sandwiches were fresh and satisfying, and terrific with a cold beer.
   The recipe is a little time-consuming, but not very difficult.
   The slaw is made by tossing shredded carrot, daikon radish, scallion greens (scallions are also known as green or spring onions) and basil with a dressing of fresh lime juice and sugar.
   The meatballs are made by combining ground pork, ground chicken breast, finely-chopped water chestnuts, scallion whites, minced garlic, fish sauce, chile-garlic sauce and pepper in a large bowl, then rolling the mixture into balls. They are baked in the oven.
   A sandwich spread is made by combining mayo and chile-garlic sauce.
   To assemble the sandwiches, baguettes, preferably whole-wheat, are cut into thirds, and then each section is cut in half horizontally. The soft bread in the centre of each piece is pulled out.
   The mayo-chile garlic sauce is spread on each piece of the baguette, then slaw, cucumber, cilantro (if desired) is piled inside. Three meatballs are put in the bottom of each sandwich, and the other half of the bread sections are put on top.

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