Banh Mi is basically a Vietnamese sandwich made with French bread and layers of amazing flavors: sweet, salty, tangy, umami (savory) and spicy. [Side note: “Whaaaat?! A Vietnamese sandwich with French bread?” Yes. A quick Google search of French Indochina will give you all the historical details]. Vegetables, meat and spices combine in harmony and sing on your palate. There are as many variations and ways to make banh mi as you can possibly imagine, even breakfast versions and those with more traditional fillings like Vietnamese cold cuts and (gasp!) head cheese. This recipe is a take on Banh Mi flavors.
Of course, as all good Paleophiles do, you’ve tossed all offending grains and grain products out of your life for good. Sandwiches in the traditional sense are long gone, unless you resort to making or buying Paleo bread – which is usually pretty disappointing, am I right? These Banh Mi Sliders are going to punch you in the face with so much flavor that you won’t even miss the bready platforms of yesteryear.
One of the key ingredients in these sliders is the homemade umami mayo. If you’ve never made it, I highly recommend you check out Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for mayo from her awesome book, Well Fed or her website (linked below). You can make the mayo and the pickled carrot and daikon ahead of time if you’re busy during the week; heck, make a big batch of sliders in advance – the recipe doubles nicely as well – and just assemble these tasty wee bites on demand.
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 10 min Makes: ~15 sliders
For the pickled carrot and daikon:
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- ½ cup julienned carrot
- ½ cup julienned daikon radish
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and honey. Heat on medium-high until boiling.
- Pour the hot liquid over the carrot and daikon radish in a heatproof bowl. Add salt to taste.
- Let the vegetables pickle for at least 30 minutes. You can make this the day ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
For the umami mayo:
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- 1.25 cups light tasting olive oil
- Coconut aminos (you’ll use 1.5 tsp for every ¼ cup mayo)
- Check out the directions for making homemade mayo here or watch the video here.
- Mix ¼ cup of the mayo with 1.5 tsp coconut aminos in a small bowl.
For the sliders:
- 1 pound of lean ground pork
- 2 green onions, sliced thin
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (or ⅛ tsp dried ginger)
- 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp fish sauce (I like Red Boat)
- ½ a jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
- Zest of 1 lime
- Small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and shape into sliders (mini-burgers).
- Pan fry or grill until completely cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
To assemble the sliders:
- 1 head of Boston (Bibb) or Romaine lettuce (Boston gives you a better cup to make the sliders in)
- Thinly sliced English cucumber
- Thinly sliced jalapeno (optional)
- Chili oil (optional)
- Fresh cilantro
- Umami mayo
- Pickled carrot and daikon
In each lettuce leaf, place one slider and top with sliced cucumber, jalapeno, chili oil, cilantro, mayo and pickled carrot and daikon.