Braised Caramel Pork Belly Banh Mi

bahn mi pickled carrots

If you had asked me five years ago if I loved banh mi, I would have had no idea what you were talking about. Let’s just say that west Texas is sometimes lacking in cultural diversity and food options. Since I moved to Austin, I have learned so much about food, diverse cuisines, and cooking! It’s only been a little over three years since I started learning how to cook; after I moved out of home to attend college, I basically ate at the cafeteria, or made myself a bowl of cereal , grilled cheese, or salad at home. I dabbled in cooking here and there once in a while, but was never serious about it.

bahn mi pickled carrots canned

It wasn’t until I got married that I put in the time to learn how to cook; probably because suddenly, I had a fully stocked kitchen. More than one skillet, knife, and dinner plate set? Guess it’s time to learn! There’s so much to expand on, but I enjoy that aspect so I try to keep my options open and constantly try new things. On that note, I decided that pickling some veggies and making a banh mi would be a delicious meal I could get behind.

bahn mi pickled carrots canned ii

I’m still a novice at pickling and fermenting veggies, but there’s something about it that’s really fun! Normally a banh mi sandwich contains pickled carrots and daikon radish, but I couldn’t find any at my grocery store so I picked up the red ones. The daikon is a much milder taste and not nearly as sharp as the red; ideally, you’d like to use daikon…(but I cheated this time.)

bahn mi ingredients

Aside from the pickled carrots and radishes, I topped this sandwich with fresh cucumber slices, fresh thai basil, fresh mint, lime, and a Gochujang aioli spread. This is all placed on a delicious freshly baked baguette. I again hit up Easy Tiger Bake Shop located in the heart of downtown Austin for my bread! Always delicious, never disappointing.

bahn mi ii

For the delicious, carmelized pork belly, I used the recipe over on White on Rice Couple. They have some amazing recipes, and this pork belly turned out amazing. My mouth is watering thinking about it…dammit. Alright already, get in the kitchen and whip up this delicious savory sandwich! I hope you enjoy 🙂

RECIPE

pickled carrots & radish

1/2 lb carrots, julienned
1/2 lb daikon radish (although I used red radish), julieened 

4 cups of water, warm
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
6 tbsp rice vinegar 

gochujang aioli spread

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp gochujang sauce

1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
salt & pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed

caramel

3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp warm water

pork belly

2 lb cubed pork belly
2 large shallots, minced (3 -4 tbsp)
1 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 – 1.5 cups of water
1/2 tsp whole black
peppercorns

for assembly 

1 french baguette
cucumber, thinly sliced
jalapenos, thinly sliced
pickled carrots & radishes
gochujang aioli spread
fresh mint, basil, and cilantro
braised caramel pork belly

TO MAKE

pickled carrots and radish

You’ll want to make your pickled carrots and radish in advance, as they take a few days to pickle for best flavor. Start by mixing the warm water, vinegar, sugar, and salt until dissolved in a large pitcher. 

Place julienned carrots and radish into a clean and sterile jar; fill with water/vinegar until the jar is full. 

Cover jars and place in the fridge to pickle for about 3 days. They can be used sooner if needed, and will last for about three weeks in the fridge. 

gochujan aioli sauce

To make, combine the greek yogurt, gochujang, garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and lime juice in a bowl.

braised caramel pork belly

Add sugar and water to a sauce pan; heat pan over medium heat allowing the sugar to melt. As it does, the mixture will turn golden brown in color. Occasionally stir the mixture, until it turns to a medium golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat. 

If the mixture is too thick, slowly and carefully add additional water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture is a more watery consistency. The caramel is hot, so be careful adding the water as it will cause splatter. Quickly stir to prevent any hard lumps from forming. Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium to large dutch over over medium heat; add shallot and slowly cook for about 1 minute. Add garlic and cook until both are soft and fragrant. Add in the pork belly and cook for about 10 minutes or until all the edges are seared and browned.

Add fish sauce to the pork belly and continue to cook another 5 minutes; add about 1 cup of water, or more until the pork is covered. Add the peppercorns and turn the heat to low; continue cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add in the caramel sauce. 

Continue braising the pork on low heat for about another 45 minutes to an hour, or until the pork is tender. Sit occasionally. 

ASSEMBLY

Slice the baguette lengthwise; spread the gochujang aioli sauce on the bread, top with pickled carrots and radish, cucumber, jalapenos, and fresh herbs. Finish with slices of pork belly. 

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