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The Hirshon Vietnamese Ultimate Banh Mi Sandwich - Bánh Mì Tối Thượng

The Hirshon Vietnamese Ultimate Banh Mi Sandwich – Bánh Mì Tối Thượng

  • Author: The Generalissimo


Units Scale
  • For the garlic mayo, Viet-style:
  • 3 fresh egg yolks
  • 8 oz. vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ***
  • For the bread:
  • 3 3/4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
  • 2 tsp. (5 grams) instant yeast (not active dry)
  • 2 tsp. (5 grams) dough enhancer, such as from King Arthur
  • 2 tsp. (5 grams) Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (5 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) cold, filtered water
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 3 baguette pans (preferable) or a large baking sheet or two
  • ***
  • For the Pâté:
  • 2 lb. coarsely-ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. pork liver (if you cannot find pork liver, you can substitute with chicken liver)
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • **
  • Chả Lụa (Steamed Vietnamese Pork Roll):
  • 2 lbs. ground fatty Pork (bought mine at Walmart Superstore)
  • 2 Tbsp. top-quality fish sauce (3 Crabs or Red Boat 40 Degrees)
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly-ground White Pepper
  • 1 Shallot, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 2 Tbsp. Tapioca Flour (Bột Năng)
  • 1 sachet Alsa Baking Powder or any single action Baking Powder brand (2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. Black Peppercorns
  • Banana Leaves (available at any Asian markets in the frozen section), rinsed and pat dried
  • Twine, to tie Chả roll (plastic twine works best)
  • ***
  • Pork Belly ‘Ham’:
  • 2 1/4 lb. pork belly, skin on, ribs off
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 piece of red bean curd and 1 tsp. of its juice
  • 1 tsp. Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp. Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • Red food coloring
  • ***
  • Herbs:
  • Fresh Cilantro, Basil and Mint leaves
  • ***
  • Pickled Vegetables:
  • 1 large Daikon radish
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups bottled water
  • 1 large air-tight container
  • ***
  • Maggi Seasoning
  • Thinly-sliced red Jalapeno or Fresno peppers


  1. For the bread:
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, add the flour, yeast, dough improver, salt and sugar and whisk to combine. Pour in the water, turn the mixer on its lowest speed and mix for 1 minute. Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the hook. Turn the mixer to its highest speed and knead the dough until it is smooth and slaps the side of the bowl, at least 6 minutes.
  3. Using a pastry brush or wad of paper towels, brush oil liberally into a round cake pan or flat-bottom bowl. Oil your hands and pull the dough from the mixer and put it in the pan. Pat down firmly to knock out any air bubbles and to shape into a flat round mass about 1 inch thick. Flip the dough in the pan and pat down again.
  4. Lightly grease a clean work surface, then transfer the dough to it. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 70 grams each. Place one piece in front of you on the surface and move the other 11 off to the side and cover loosely with a sheet of plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
  5. Starting with one piece, grip one end of the dough in your hand and fling the other end, slapping it against your work surface to stretch it slightly. Fold the top half of the dough back toward you, then press it with the heel of your hand to flatten into a rough rectangle. Then, starting with one long side of the rectangle, roll the dough up into a log, as if you were making a log of cinnamon rolls. The dough log should be about 8 inches long and 1 inch wide.
  6. Starting at the center and working toward the ends, roll the log under your fingers, stretching it slightly and pressing at the ends to create sharp tapers. (This part is tricky, so watch this video to acquaint yourself with the maneuvers and see the desired shape before your first try.) Repeat with the remaining dough pieces, transferring each as it’s formed to a concave baguette pan (highly recommended; you’ll need three for this recipe) or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (two will suffice). If using the latter, be sure to space the loaves out by a few inches and lift the paper slightly between each loaf so they don’t become conjoined while rising. As the dough rises, mistakes are forgiven, so if you do this step fairly quickly and consistently, you’ll end up with serviceable if not slightly misshapen baguettes.
  7. Place the pans or baking sheets in a cold oven. Fill a 9-by-13-inch pan halfway with boiling water, then place the pan on the bottom of the oven. Close the oven door and let the baguettes rise until doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Remove the pans or baking sheets from the oven and leave the pan of water where it is. Heat the oven to 500 degrees, keeping the door closed to trap the moisture from the water in the pan.
  9. Using a spray bottle, spray the entire surface of the baguettes with a fine mist of water. Using a greased razor blade or sharp paring knife, quickly slit the top of each baguette three times on a bias; space the cuts evenly and cut no more than 1/4-inch deep. Place the pans in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. After 2 minutes (at the 13-minute mark on timer), open the door and quickly spray the loaves with more water, then close the door. Repeat once more after 3 additional minutes (10 minutes left on timer). After 8 additional minutes (7-minute mark on timer), rotate the pans front to back and top to bottom so the loaves bake evenly. Continue baking until the loaves are dark golden brown, 15 minutes total.
  10. Remove the pans from the oven and place on a rack. Allow the baguettes to cool completely on their pans. If all has gone well, the loaves should crackle and pop as they cool and the crust will form spider webs of little cracks. The resulting loaf should be light, crispy on the outside and moist and cottony on the inside. Use right away to make banh mi sandwiches. Adapted from Andy Ricker.
  11. Make Ahead:
    The baked baguettes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Split and toast under the broiler or in a toaster oven to crisp up again before eating.
  12. For the Pickled Vegetables:
  13. Peel the carrots and daikon radish. Using a grater, shred them into thin long strips. Season the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of salt.
  14. Fill up the bowl with water and soak the vegetables for 10 minutes with cold water. This will help keep the vegetables crisp.
  15. In another bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar, ½ cup of vinegar, 3 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Mix well. Fill the vegetables with the brining liquid in a pickling container. Let the vegetables pickle for at least 24 hours before serving. Store the container in the fridge.
  16. For the Pâté:
  17. Mince 10 cloves of garlic in the food processor. Add ½ pound of pork liver to the food processor and pulse to liquefy. Add 2 pounds of ground pork, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of ground pepper and pulse to incorporate.
  18. Pour the meat mixture into a heatproof pan and steam for 1 hour. (Tip: If you do not have a steamer, you can cook the meat mixture in a pan on a stove top. Steaming draws out the fat and keeps the meat mixture moist.)
  19. Move the meat mixture (without the excess juice) to the food processor. Add 1 ½ cups canola oil while you puree the meat mixture.
  20. Pour the meat mixture into containers and allow the pâté to set in the fridge for at least 8 hours or until the mixture becomes firm. (Tip: A trick to easily remove the pate is to place plastic wrap at the bottom of the container before pouring the mixture into it.)
  21. For the Pork Roll:
  22. Preparing Pork Paste – Mix pork, fish sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, shallot and garlic in a mixing bowl.
  23. In a separate bowl, add ice water, tapioca flour and mix it well. Then add baking powder and mix. Baking powder causes a rapid expansion of the liquid and has a tendency to foam over.
  24. Pour the water mixture into the pork bowl and mix it well. Cover and place it in the freezer for about 3 hours until the pork is really cold or frosty but not yet frozen. You can also place it in the fridge overnight instead of the freezer. This process will help the meat to bind together.
  25. Remove from freezer or fridge, then place it in the food processor with half of the pork at a time; do not overload the work bowl. Process to a completely smooth paste. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Transfer the beef paste to another bowl.  Add peppercorns and mix well.  Place it back in the fridge until you’re ready to wrap it up.  
  26. Wrapping Pork Paste – Wrap pork paste in at least 3 layers of banana leaves. Make sure to keep your hands moist with cooking oil and also brush oil on the leave to prevent pork paste from sticking. Tightly wrap into a cylindrical shape, then fold the two ends in.  Use the twine to tie it tightly. Steam for about 20-25 minutes. Chả Lụa tastes wonderfully when pan fried over high heat until the skin is golden brown.
  27. For the Pork Belly ‘Ham’:
  28. In a mixing bowl, whisk together roast red pork seasoning mix, salt, sugar, ground pepper, garlic powder, if using, and chicken broth or water. Place in the pork. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge for best flavor.
  29. Remove the pork from the sauce. Place on aluminum foil and roll up the pork tightly. Wrap the pork with foil until totally covered. Once again, wrap the pork tightly with a plastic wrap. (This will help the pork not expand too much during the steaming process.)
  30. Place the pork into the steamer and steam for 45 minutes on medium-low heat or until a chopstick inserted through the pork pierces it easily.
  31. Wait until the pork cools down completely and then place it into the fridge. It will be ready the next day.
  32. Remove the outer wrappings and cut the pork into extremely thin slices.
  33. To assemble the Sandwich:
  34. Cut each baguette in half lengthwise and remove some of the soft interior crumb – discard it.
  35. Coat both side of the cut baguette with garlic mayo, then sprinkle on some Maggi seasoning.
  36. Smear pâté on top of the mayo on both sides.
  37. Layer on pork roll and ham, then cover with herbs, pickled vegetables and lastly sliced chile peppers. Close sandwiches and enjoy the ULTIMATE!