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Ingredients (16)

For the nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce):

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons warm water, plus more as needed

For the pork:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds cubed pork belly (1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

For assembling the banh mi:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 baguette, preferably pain d’épis
  • 1 medium Persian cucumber, sliced
  • 1 large carrots, shredded
  • Shredded red cabbage
  • Cilantro leaves

The classic Vietnamese sandwich gets a deep boost of flavor here, with these slider-size banh mi filled with slowly braised pork belly in Vietnamese caramel sauce. You start by making a simple caramel (sugar and water, cooked until golden brown and syrupy). Then, separately, you melt shallots and garlic, add cubed pork belly and cook until lightly seared. Add Asian fish sauce for umami richness and seasoning, then the caramel. Once braised, these rich, tender cubes of pork are the heart of these crunchy, slightly spicy, and baguette-crispy little sandwiches.

For more, check out our Banh Mi Chicken Burger, Banh Mi Spiral-Cut Hot Dogs, and Rice Paper Banh Mi with Five-Spice Chicken.


To make the nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce):
  1. 1Heat the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. As the sugar begins to melt, a golden brown caramel will form. Once the sugar begins to melt, it will turn color very quickly—don’t take your attention from it! As soon as the mixture turns a medium golden brown, immediately remove the pan from heat.
  2. 2If the caramel looks too thick, slowly and carefully add additional warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the caramel looks fluid. Quickly stir with the wooden spoon to dissolve any lumps that have formed. Set aside.

To cook the pork belly:

  1. 1Warm the oil in a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. Push them to one side of the pan and add the pork belly cubes.Pork Belly Cook until all the edges are seared and browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. 2Add the fish sauce and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add enough water to just cover the pork cubes, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups. Add the peppercorns. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. 3Add the reserved caramel sauce and continue braising the pork on low heat until very tender, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the caramel isn’t burning.

To assemble the banh mi:

  1. 1In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and Sriracha. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. 2Split the baguette lengthwise. Spread both sides with a thin layer of the Sriracha mayo. Top the bottom half with cucumber slices, then the braised pork and enough of the caramel braising sauce to moisten it. Top with the shredded carrots, cabbage, and cilantro leaves. Top with the baguette half and cut into 8-10 sliders.
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