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Saturday, August 27, 2011
Banh Mi Dac Biet - Special Combo Banh Mi
Banh mi has become very popular in the last few years. Banh mi is a Vietnamese and French fusion sandwich that originated in Vietnam. Banh mi basically translates to special bread.
The bread is a French wheat flour mini baguette that has a high proportion of rice flour. The rice flour creates a soft textured pith. A slit is cut into the mini bread loaf and most of the bread pith is removed. The bread is then stuffed with a mixture of traditional Vietnamese ingredients and French ingredients.
Vegetable banh mi is the most popular kind of banh mi. Banh mi can be made with pate, lunch meats, pork, fish, meat balls, sausage, tofu and several other ingredients. Only a small portion of meat is placed on a banh mi sandwich. Vegetables make up the bulk of the ingredients. Mayonnaise is another French item that is spread on most banh mi sandwiches.
Daikon radish is almost always placed on banh mi. Many times, Vietnamese herbs take the place of lettuce. Sliced tomato and onion are commonly placed on banh mi. Cheese is rarely placed on banh mi, because cheese is not popular in asia and it is not commonly made there. Tofu is used like cheese on banh mi sandwiches.
Banh mi has become part of the street vendor food craze. There are some very popular banh mi restaurants in Chinatown, Las Vegas. Because there is only a small portion of meat on banh mi, these sandwiches are sold at a very low price!
When dining at a banh mi restaurant, it is common to see people eating a variety of several banh mi sandwiches in one sitting. A Las Vegas news paper food writer wrote a restaurant review about one of the banh mi restaurants in Chinatown. The writer stated that he ate one delicious banh mi after another, till he could eat no more! He said that he honestly wanted to try every banh mi that was on the menu at that shop. The flavor of little banh mi sandwiches is that good!
I made a special trip to a local asian market to get the bread and a few ingredients to make this sandwich with. Asian markets carry many interesting specialty items that add an interesting to to an entree. I found vacuum sealed packages of marinated seasoned daikon radish strips. The flavor of the marinated radish is incredibly good! Vacuum sealing when marinating is a modern technique that is taught in good chef schools. The marinade is forced into the food that is being marinated and the flavor permeates the food.
I also purchased a small package of hopia hapon. Hopia snack cakes originated in the Philippines and Fiji. Hopia hapon translates to Japanese hopia. Hopia is like a fancy fig newton, but it is filled with a variety of different bean pastes, or bread crumb pastes with candied fruit. The hopia hapon dough is a soft cake type cookie dough. Hopia hapon is filled with sweet adzuki bean paste and it has a delicious flavor. Hopia snack cakes are commonly formed into fancy pretty shapes. Hopia hapon is a nice sweet snack to serve with a banh mi sandwich!
Special combo banh mi is made with a couple of lunch meats. One of the lunch meats for a specal combo is usually head cheese. I used the local Indiana bolshevic loaf head cheese to make this sandwich. Any head cheese variety can be used. The second lunchmeat for a special combo is usually a pork lunch meat. Any thin sliced pork lunch meat can be used. I chose to use a sliced dry cured and lightly smoked pork neck lunch meat for this special combo banh mi. Smoked pork neck and roasted pork neck can be found in many regions of asia.
Banh Mi Dac Biet Recipe:
Cut a slit just short of end to end on a small banh mi bread loaf. The slit should be cut at a 45 degree angle vertically into the bread.
Open the slit in the bread with your fingers.
Use your fingers to remove most of the pith inside the bread.
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise inside of the bread.
Place a layer of fancy baby lettuce leaves on the bottom half of the sandwich.
Place a few thin slices of head cheese on the lettuce.
Place a few thin slices of pork lunch meat on the head cheese slices. (The total amount of lunch meats on this banh mi should be 2 ounces or less!)
Place a handful of marinated daikon radish on the lunch meats. (Thin slices or thin strips of fresh daikon radish can be used in place of marinated daikon radish.)
Place some thin slices of cherry tomatoes on the daikon radish.
Place a few pieces of large diced bermuda onion on the sandwich.
Place the sandwich on a plate.
Garnish the plate with a small lettuce leaf and a strawberry.
Place a hopia hapon on the plate.
Delicious! Special combo is a fitting name for this great banh mi sandwich! Yum! ... Shawna