Banh mi sandwiches have to be some of the best things you can stuff your face with. They are cheap, full of so many textures, and pack a serious depth of flavor that is so simple, it’s a little mind-boggling. I have my favorite banh mi place by my work, where for just $4.50 I can have a super delicious pork and veggie sandwich for lunch. Working in the Financial District of San Francisco, let me tell you that my wallet appreciates this sandwich too.
I’ve had the idea to make these awesome sandwiches into bowls for a while, mainly because I don’t know where to find a good, light baguette to hold the goodies, and that’s pretty key to a good banh mi. Regardless, we can get these flavahs into a bowl, right? Right. So I got to marinating some pork, pickling some carrot and daikon, and slicing up some other fresh-tasting treats (cucumber, scallion, cilantro, jalops).
I used frozen cooked brown rice (the audacity!) because I don’t trust myself to make rice properly (who does that?) and I also didn’t want to risk rendering rice noodles into a mushy pile. Yay convenience! You can sub out any grain you want—quinoa, barley, etc. would be great here. This would be bomb on my sriracha cashew cream noodles too!
These were great and my mind is already on to the next one…Mexican-inspired banh mis, anyone??!?! I mean come on, so many of these flavors (pork, cilantro, jalops, pickled carrot, etc) can swing Mexican. Methinks I have some recipe testing to do…
But I digress. Go make these. They be yum.
Banh Mi Bowls
What you need:
Marinade & Pork (Adapted oh-so-slightly from Shutterbean)
- 1/4 c soy sauce (mine is always low sodium)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2-3 tbsp sriracha (more/less/none per your heat tolerance)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced/grated
- 1 large or 2 small shallots, minced
- 2 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced/grated (used my microplane here)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander (optional, I added this to complement the cilantro in the finished dish)
- Fresh ground black pepper (I probably ended up with about 3/4 tsp in there)
- 1- to 1.5-lb pork tenderloin, trimmed a little bit of excess fat (it’s pretty lean, so there won’t be too much)
- Marinate your meat! I just tossed everything in a big ziploc the night before, so it marinated for about 24 hours. That makes life way easier on the day of cooking, but if you’re hard-pressed for time, toss everything in the bag but poke your tenderloin with a sharp paring knife a few times to make sure that the marinade is getting in there and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temp.
- While your meat is marinating, prep your carrot and daikon pickles, they’re pretty quick.
- Cook yo meat: I used the same technique as I did with my pork tenderloin with blackberry-sage sauce so I could get a sear but cooked throughout. The basics: sear your meat on all sides, then pop in a 375° oven for 20 minutes (uncovered) and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The meat should be at at least 145° for it to be safely cooked.
- Optional: While my meat was cooking, I simmered the remaining marinade to kill off any raw porkness and then poured it over the meat about halfway through its oven time. Again, optional, but it creates a sort of thick glaze on the meat that is very flavorful.
- Make your bowls! I used sliced pork, cilantro, english cucumber wedges, the picked carrot/daikon, scallions, and jalops. Oh and sriracha. The beauty of these is that they are fully customizable!
Sorry for the lack of instructional photos. They were all terrible, promise. The food, however, was deliciousness. Get on this.