Pork Belly Banh Mi (Paleo, Low Carb, Keto)
As per Google, Bánh mì or banh mi is the Vietnamese word for bread. But what it usually stands for is a typical Vietnamese sandwich (or more a French-Vietnamese hybrid), consisting of a crusty french style baguette filled with the most amazing authentic Vietnamese flavours, coming from crunchy fresh and pickled vegetables, chilli, fragrant coriander, meats such as pork, chicken or Vietnamese cold cuts, creamy mayonnaise and surprisingly a liver pate (back to the French influence). What can sound rather like a very unusual mix of ingredients is something so delicious that words can’t possibly explain.
This fusion of cuisines was created in the 19th century when Vietnam was part of French Indochina and the French colonists introduced Vietnam to their classic baguette as well as the pate and mayonnaise. And just soon after that the Vietnamese added their more traditional fillings and the popular sandwich was born.
When we were in Vietnam a couple of years ago I would have a Banh Mi nearly everyday. It’s that good. I don’t think I could possibly get sick of it (well, probably from all the white flour etc., but definitely not the flavour, hehe). Every little place would have their personal touch and choice of ingredients. There was breakfast Banh Mi with fried eggs, some with a pretty suspicious looking (but delicious) ham, with crispy pork belly, grilled chicken and everything in between.
So I was really excited when I saw a Banh Mi on a cafe menu nearly two weeks ago when having lunch with friends. Because not many places here are offering this delicious sandwich. But to be honest, I was pretty disappointed. The bread was dry and the fillings minimal. Not something I would pay $20 again. But I couldn’t stop thinking about Banh Mi and finally decided to make my own healthified version at home. No flour or sugar, but all the other amazing flavours that the sandwich should content. And I think I was quite successful at that 🙂
- For the meat:
- 400g pork belly
- 4 tbsp coconut aminos (or 2 tbsp soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- For the rolls:
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup psyllium husk
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ⅓ tsp guar gum
- 6 eggs
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- For the fillings:
- Homemade pate - optional, but highly recommended
- Homemade mayonnaise or good quality store bought (you can also add some flavour to the mayo, add in some chilli, Sriracha or coriander)
- Thinly sliced cucumber
- Thinly sliced pickled or fresh carrot
- Thinly sliced green onion
- Fresh chilli
- Fresh coriander
- Start with marinating the meat for at least 2 hours prior cooking.
- Slice the pork belly into a few blocks, around 4-5 cm in width.
- Mix the coconut aminos and a fish sauce in a bowl and put the belly in and rub the liquids into the meat. You can also marinate it in a zip lock bag or vacuum bag, which is a great way to cover the most of the meat in the marinade. Let the meat marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
- Then take the meat out of the fridge around 30 minutes before cooking, so it's not so cold when putting it into the oven.
- Place the meat in a baking tray (on a dripper or a tray if you can) and place the tray into a preheated oven on 180 C for 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes take the meat out of the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing into single servings.
- To make the rolls, mix all the dry ingredients together.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites and whip the whites into firm peaks with a whisk or a whisk blender.
- Add the egg yolks, coconut cream and apple cider vinegar to the bowl with dry ingredients and mix everything together using a spatula. Then add the whipped egg whites and mix them carefully in, folding the mixture, rather then stirring. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, so the wet ingredients soak up the liquids.
- Wet your hands, so it will be easier to make little rolls out of the mixture. Then carefully form several small rolls/buns out of the mix and place them onto a lined baking tray. It's more of a blob at this point than an actual roll, but the dough will rise up in the oven. The mixture is quite soft, but it shouldn't be runny.
- Place the tray with the rolls into a preheated oven on 160 C and bake for 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes turn the oven off and open the door, leaving the tray with the rolls still in, cooling them slowly, so they don't collapse. After about 15 minutes take the tray out of the oven and let the rolls cool completely before opening them with a knife and putting the fillings in.
- Spread mayonnaise on one side of the roll and pate on the other and then fill them with pork, thinly sliced cucumber, carrot, green onion, chilli and coriander.