The ingredients and flavours in a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is an umami and sensory dream: a light and crispy mini baguette loaded with richly marinated meat, tangy and crunchy pickled veggies, fragrant and fresh cilantro, creamy mayo and pate. We’ve added our own twist of caramelised pineapple and a squishy bun to complement the patty, while honouring the original ingredients.
Grilled Pork Banh Mi Burgers With Grilled Pineapple
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
1 carrot, peeled and into matchsticks
¼ daikon, peeled and into matchsticks
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup warm water
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ cup distilled white vinegar or rice vinegar
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced and divided
3 slices bacon, roughly chopped
1 cup of cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/3 cup chopped shallots or onion
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 ½ Tbsp fish sauce
1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, pounded and minced
1 pound medium or lean ground pork
4 thick pineapple ring slices
4 hamburger buns, halved horizontally
2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
1. In large bowl, toss together the carrots, daikon and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain in colander and squeeze excess liquid.
Tip: To carrots and daikon into long, even matchsticks, a Japanese mandoline (benriner) is an affordable secret tool favoured by home cooks and professional chefs.
2. In a small bowl whisk together the warm water and sugar until dissolved, then stir in the vinegar. Add reserved carrot mixture and half of the jalapeño; let pickle for 30 to 60 minutes and refrigerate.
Tip: You can store your pickled carrots and daikon in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
3. Meanwhile, you can make the burger patties. In a food processor, combine the bacon, cilantro leaves and tender stems, shallots, sugar, fish sauce, garlic, soy sauce, pepper and lemongrass. Pulse to combine. In a large bowl, add the pork and bacon mixture until combined.
Tip: To use lemongrass trim the base and top. Remove the outer woody and dry layers and crush 4 inches from the bottom using the base of a chef’s to release the oils. Slice into 1-inch pieces and use in marinades and pastes.
4. Divide patty mixture into 4 equal portions and form each into 4 ½-inch rounds place on squares of parchment paper and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
5. Preheat grill to medium-high; brush and oil grill. Press centre of each patty with thumb to make a shallow indent to help keep their shape during cooking. The patties with lid closed until browned and cooked through 3 to 5 minutes per side. Grill pineapple until slightly charred and caramelised, 1 to 2 minute per side.
6. To assemble, top bun with patty, pineapple, pickled vegetables, cucumbers and cilantro. Serve with mayo if desired. Soo Kim is a freelance recipe developer and food stylist who has worked and eaten around the globe from Moscow to London. She is a food content media specialist and the former food director of Canadian Living and Chatelaine magazine. A firm believer in flavour first, she curates meals with a balanced palate and a keen curiosity.