Sharing Stories in Bits & Bites

Can’t ‘Banh Mi’ Love…

Do you ever look at a photo of some delicious food you’ve never tried before and NEED to make it? Happens to me all the time...Pinterest be DAMNED! My obsessive compulsive relationship with food is the reason why I am willing to try just about anything! Ahhhhh okay…almost anything. Not those stir-fried beetles at the night market on Koh Samui in Thailand though. Still shudder when I think back to that smell.

A few weeks ago I shared a  Food Network recipe for ‘Banh-Mi Tacos’ on my Facebook Page. Banh Mi is everywhere these days, but I hadn’t tried it! Banh-Mi is actually named for the crusty french roll that the ingredients are served on. So the entire concept of a ‘Banh Mi’ taco or wrap is flawed. Essentially it is a pork product, a shoulder or pork belly, marinated in a sweet sauce, served with crunchy vegetables and a carrot/daikon pickle. The first time I made it, I stuck pretty close to the recipe that I was following. Although I had no luck finding a pork shoulder to make that part from scratch. Sooo, I picked up a package of smoked pulled pork at Costco. Yup…I hit the easy button. You can read more about the French and Vietnamese history of the sandwich on Wikipedia.

Went to our local Asian market to find all the sauces and veggies. Did you know that Lo Bak is actually another name for Daikon? I didn’t, but it smelled right to me so fortunately I got it. If you haven’t used daikon before, it is a large white radish with a milder pepperiness than the wee red ones. As I was searching the aisles, list in hand…some beeee-yoooo-teee-ful organic greens caught my eye. There were some tasty looking Asian veggies I hadn’t sampled before and a sale on BC grown Oyster mushrooms, so I grabbed a pile of those too. Wasn’t sure how I would incorporate them, but I had a feeling they’d work their way in somehow. One more random purchase: a jar of Korean Kim Chi…not Vietnamese, but something about it made me think it would work with these wraps. Call me crazy!

The first time around I used the corn tortillas as directed. Gotta say, the kids weren’t big fans. The flavour was rather over powering, texture was a little tough and they cracked too easily. On the second attempt we had some Dempster’s Tortillas in the freezer that the company had generously sent me to test out. Super handy, they defrost in a minute, heat up nice and soft, taste fresh and the kids gave a unanimous thumbs up. My gang liked that they were larger, softer and that the flavour took a back seat to the ingredients inside the wrap.

When you make these, although easy to execute, allow yourself some time. It’s a bit of prep, but the taste is worth the effort.They are a great party or Friday night food, because you can do a lot of the prep the day before and everyone can assemble their own. Please read ahead through all of the directions. Feels like a lot of ingredients, but there is quite a bit of crossover. I have provided my final version that won the fam-jam over, but the cool thing about this recipe is that substitutions are encouraged…it may not be called Banh Mi in the end, but if it tastes great…oh well!

banh mi experimentation!

Banh Mi Tortillas

serves 8-10

Pork-

  • 1   5 lb pork shoulder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Season pork shoulder liberally with salt and pepper
  2. Heat oven to lowest setting (mine is 200°). Roast pork for 6 hours, basting every half an hour, until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork. I haven’t tried this in a slow cooker, but I have heard it works well.
  3. OR buy already prepared pulled pork…like I did.
  4. You can do the meat a day ahead and store in the fridge.

Sauce-

  • 3½ cups hoisin sauce
  • 2½ cups oyster sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup teriyaki sauce
  • ½ cup fresh grated ginger
  • 5 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs Sriracha
  1. Combine all ingredients and whisk together well.
  2. Half an hour before you want to serve the pork, pour sauce over it, mix well & place in a medium oven to warm.

Carrot & Daikon Pickle-

  • 3 cups peeled carrots, finely julienned
  • 3 cups peeled daikon, finely julienned (pictured above is my Zyliss peeler/grater & it does a fantastic job!)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Combine water, both vinegars, sugar, ginger and salt in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add carrot and daikon.
  2. Let cool, then refrigerate for four hours or overnight.
  3. Note: my kids love this so much I make extra now & just leave it in the fridge for them to add to whatever they like

Mixed Greens & Mushrooms-

  • 6 -8 loose cups of greens (you can use kale, spinach, yu choy sum, bok choy, pea sprouts, broccoli rabe or any combination of leafy greens that stir fry well) chopped into bite sized pieces.
  • 2 cups of shiitake or oyster mushrooms, stems removed, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbs sesame oil
  • 4 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar
  1. In a small bowl bowl stir together 2 tbs of sesame oil, soy sauce, fish oil, vinegar
  2. In a large wok or frying pan over high heat, warm 2 tbs of sesame oil, add the mushrooms and stir-fry until they soften, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.
  3. Turn the wok down to medium add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Gradually add the greens, stir gently until they begin to wilt, return the mushrooms to the pan and pour in the sauce. Keep stirring gently until all of the greens are coated in sauce.
  4. Transfer greens into a warmed bowl & serve at once.

The ‘rest’:

  • warmed tortillas or wraps
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 cups chopped green onion
  • 1 cup kimchi , sliced finely( was really happy with T-Brothers Original Kimchi from Coquitlam)
  • long, fine slices of english cucumber
  • 2 limes, cut in wedges
  • several large wedges of ice burg lettuce

before we rolled up the banh mi tortilla

To plate-

  1. Take a tortilla and line with piece of ice burg lettuce.
  2. Line the center of the wrap with pulled pork.
  3. Cover with greens, c/d pickle, kim chi (if you like spice)
  4. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds , wrap it & enjoy 🙂

WOW! That took a long time to write out…it looks daunting but is actually easier to make than to explain  ha ha ha…so try it! It’s really yummers, even my youngest love it!

One cannot refuse to eat just because there is a chance of being choked. 

~Chinese Proverb



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