Banh Mi

We are eating whole 30 currently and I was leafing through recipes and I found a recipe for a banh mi salad and I remembered how many times I have seen these made on the Food Network and thought it sounded good. For the record, I have not had a Banh Mi sandwich. Initially, I thought there was a lot of steps and I like easy recipes on Sunday evening, but, it sounded so good, I went for it. After quick pickling the vegetables, I cooked the cabbage, and the pork-i used pork cutlets for the record, and I already had whole 30 mayo in the frig. I left out the jalapeno and the sciracha because my boyfriend doesn’t care for things too spicy but, if I was cooking this for me, I would definitely make it spicy. I think that would enhance the flavor even more. I think the spice of the pickled vegetables makes the creaminess of the mayo even more pronounced and if you take a bite of the meat with the cabbage, vegetables and sauce, you get the true essence of the dish.

This morning when I was reading about banh mi sandwiches, google tells me that banh mi is actually the Vietnamese word for a baguette, which would completely render the name of my recipe invalid with the absence of the bread. Google also tells me the Vietnamese word for salad is “rau xa’ la’ch” which when you hear it pronounced sounds more like “sau sa lach”, which sounds more like salad but this word isn’t nearly as easy to say as banh mi salad. I hope you decide to try this and please, feel free to make it your own if you need to. For instance, for unsweetened pineapple juice, you can use regular juice or you can buy a pineapple and juice part of so it is authentic to the recipe. If I made this recipe again, I would add purple onion to the pickling vegetables. Also, I believe if you do not have rice vinegar, you can use regular white vinegar. This is a recipe for 2 and if you want leftovers or are feeding more, you can adjust it very easily. I was not able to find the recipe online so here goes:

1/2 c thinly sliced unpeeled cucumber

1/2 cup pkg shredded carrots or 1 med carrot or several small carrots shredded

1/2 t coarse salt

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 – 1 inch piece fresh ginger thinly sliced

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 cup rice vinegar – if you do not have this, use white vinegar

1/2 c unsweetened pineapple juice – if you do not have unsweet, use sweetened

1 small head of green cabbage cut into 4 wedges

2 T evoo

coarse salt and black pepper

2 boneless pork chops-i used pork cutlets

Quick pickled vegetables-in a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, carrots and salt. place garlic, ginger and peppercorns in a 4 x 4 piece of cheesecloth, tie closed with cotton kitchen string-if you don’t have cheesecloth, add these straight to the liquid and drain later- and place in medium bowl. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar and pineapple juice and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour over the cucumber mixture and place bowl in the freezer.

Cabbage: Heat a cast iron grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Brush the cabbage wedges with 1 T of the olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook the cabbage turning frequently until charred all over, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly then remove core and coarsely chop.

Pork: in the same grill pan or even while you are cooking the cabbage, you can do this in another pan, heat 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat. Lightly season the pork chops and cook until golden brown-internal temp 145 5 to 6 minutes per side. Let stand for 5 minutes and thinly slice the pork.

Plating: place a bed of cabbage on the middle of the plate, then, set the pork in the middle the cabbage. Drain the vegetables and place on top of the pork and top with freshly topped cilantro and a bit of chopped jalapeno if you’d like. Drizzle the mayo and even a bit of sriracha over your masterpiece and enjoy.

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