Banh Mi as an appetiser? Yes, please! This recipe is perfect for 2-3 day old bread. Toss in a bit of olive oil & salt, throw in the oven for 5 minutes and create crunchy croutons for the base of these delicious Banh Mi appetisers. Super easy to make but packed full of flavour.
The pork here is inspired by Nem Nướng (smoky Vietnamese grilled pork). An authentic Nem Nướng flavour is typically achieved through a premade seasoning you can purchase at most Asian supermarkets. In this recipe, the marinade is made of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, turmeric, fish sauce, salt, sugar and a bit of Nem Nướng seasoning.
You can leave out the Nem Nướng seasoning overall or substitute it with your preferred smoky/bacon-flavoured seasoning. It just means you may need to adjust the seasoning to taste.
Do so by cooking a bit of your marinated pork in a pan before setting aside to marinate!
WHAT TYPE OF PORK SHOULD I BUY?
I stay clear of buying “minced pork” at the butcher (to avoid mystery meats in premade ground pork). Instead, I buy a fatty pork shoulder/butt (20% fat at least) and then have the butcher grind it up, or take it home to grind up myself. The fat in pork helps achieve that perfect texture.
The pork is inspired by Nem Nuong, which is a traditional Vietnamese smoky grilled pork. It has a sweet, garlicky taste, looks pinkish and usually presented as a grilled sausage. The distinctive Nem Nuong flavour and colour is achieved by a special Nem Nuong seasoning mix you can find in Asian supermarkets.
CAN I SKIP THE NEM NUONG SEASONING?
Yes but your pork will not have the pinkish Nem Nuong colour and of course, the flavour will be a little different. In this recipe, I’ve only added a bit of Nem Nuong seasoning with fresh ground lemongrass, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, salt, sugar. ground white pepper and minced garlic.
You can leave out the Nem Nướng seasoning overall or substitute it with your preferred smoky/bacon-flavoured seasoning. You may need to adjust portions of the fish sauce, salt and sugar in the marinade to taste. Before putting it in the fridge to marinate, cook a little bit of the pork on a pan to taste the flavour. Adjust accordingly.
CAN I SUBSTITUTE THE PORK FOR ANOTHER PROTEIN?
The short answer is yes but I recommend sticking to the marinade recipe because it’s so delicious and simple!
Simply combine lemongrass, turmeric, kaffir lime leaf, fish sauce, salt, sugar, minced garlic ground white pepper and a little bit of Nem Nueong seasoning (optional) with your chosen protein and leave overnight the fridge for maximum flavour.
Before putting it in the fridge to marinate, cook a little bit of the pork on a pan to taste the flavour. Adjust accordingly. When done marinating, roll into small meatball patties and grill or pan-fry.
CAN I USE ANY BREAD?
Yes, any stale bread that isn’t mouldy can be used. My preferred choice of bread is a French Baguette that is 2-3 days old. When oven-baked the texture is wonderful.
WHAT PATE SHOULD I BUY?
As mentioned in my Banh Mi post, authentic vendors will make their own Pâté. But if you aren’t making your Pâté at home, then any neutral flavoured store-bought Pâté is fine e.g. not infused with a plum flavour. I usually go for a Ground Pepper Pâté or Mushroom flavour Pâté (has extra umami, savouriness to it).
Banh Mi SNACK with Smoky Lemongrass Pork (UNDER 15 MINUTES)
- 1 French baguette 2-3 days old. Or any stale bread.
- ½ Cucumber
- Homemade Pickled Carrot see body text for recipe
- Pâté to spread
- Olive oil
- Spring onion finely sliced to garnish
- Mayo to spread
Vietnamese Pork Mini Meatballs
- 125 g Ground Pork substitute: your minced protien of choice
- ½ tablespoon Nem Nuong seasoning buy from asian supermarket. optional but recommended
- ½ teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon if you skip Nem Nuong seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Fish sauce
- 1 stalk Lemongrass sliced
- 1 teaspoon Fresh tumeric subsitute: 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
- 2 Kaffir lime leaves
- 1 teaspoon Minced garlic
- chilli (optional)
1. Prep carrots & pork the night/a few hours beforehand:
- Make Pickled Carrots: Follow my quick Vietnamese Pickled Carrots recipe. It will take 10 mins to prepare and at least 3 hours in the fridge to pickle. Ideal if left overnight.
- Marinate the Pork: In a blender, make the lemongrass mix by grinding the lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime leaf, turmeric & chilli together. In a seperate bowl with ground pork, add the lemongrass mix and fish sauce, salt, ground pepper, sugar, nem nuong seasoning. Mix all together to marinate. Test the marinade by cooking some pork on the pan to taste. Adjust seasoning, repeat until satisfied. Leave in fridge to marinate, ideally overnight. The longer the better.
2. When ready to serve, make croutons & cook the pork
- Croutons: Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut bageutte/bread into appetiser pieces as pictured. Spread the bread out on an oven tray and season with olive oil & a bit of salt. Toss around to even out seasoning. Bake in oven for 4-6 minutes or until golden & crunchy. Set aside.
- Cook the pork: Roll minced pork into mini meatball patties and pan fry on medium-high heat. Leave aside to cool.
3. Assemble the Appetisers!
- Spread Pâté onto Crouton. Add Mayo. Add sliced cucumber, pickled carrot, meatball patty. Finish off with spring onion & chilli garnish. Serve straight away, best when warm & fresh!