Banh mi is to Vietnam what a sandwich is to the western world, and along with Pho Ga is a contender for Vietnam’s national dish. Packed with tasty pork, fresh herbs and mouth-tingling pickled vegetables, it takes the lunch experience to a whole new level.
Easy to make, enjoy a homemade banh mi panini with this simple step-by-step guide.
Banh Mi Panini
Why Use A Panini?
A traditional banh mi baguette has a very light and airy, yet uniform, crumb. I have enjoyed eating several throughout Vietnam. The bread, and specifically the crumb, is much less dense than a western-style baguette, and arguably healthier.
Making banh mi baguettes is not easy. The cloud-like texture comes from proving dough in a hot, humid climate (30°C/85% humidity), which is typical of Saigon and hard to simulate in a normal kitchen. Hence choosing a panini (which is a close match) and enjoy the fillings of a banh mi sandwich.
For more information on banh mi, see the Ultimate Guide to Banh Mi on Foodiehub.
- 7 airtight jars or containers (at least 2 large)
- Chopping board
- Frying pan or panini press
- 2 panini sub rolls
- 2 carrots
- 1 small daikon
- Fresh basil
- Fresh coriander/cilantro
- Fresh mint
- 1 small cucumber
- 500ml pickling vinegar
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- Coriander hummus*
- 500g Pork fillet
- Minced lemongrass
- 1 red chilli
- Sweet Thai chilli sauce
- 1 red onion
* – coriander hummus can be made with normal hummus and fresh chopped coriander.
The principle is very similar to Pho Ga … prepare and store the components for several meals in advance, and then assemble them quickly for breakfast or lunch.
Preparing the Components
The garlic, carrot and daikon slices need to be pickled for at least two days in advance. Red onion and cucumber are optional extras.
- Slice the carrots and daikon into thin strips. Place them in separate large jars and cover in white vinegar.
- Slice the garlic gloves. Slice a small amount of chilli. Place the slices in a small jar and cover with white vinegar.
- Thinly slice the pork fillet. Pan fry it in oil and minced lemongrass. Leave to cool and place in a large airtight container.
- Add a small amount of chilli sauce and a crushed garlic clove to mayonnaise to make a chilli dressing. Store this in a small airtight container.
- Slice the cucumber and red onion into thin strips. Place the strips in separate airtight containers.
Making a Banh Mi Panini
- Slice a panini roll open down the length.
- Scoop out some bread from the centre. This makes a cavity for the ingredients and makes the roll is easier to hold.
- Heat a frying pan. Put the panini halves crust side down in the pan for 2 minutes to warm. Remove from the heat.
- Spread the hummus on the inside of the bottom piece and chilli mayonnaise on the inside of the top piece.
- Layer the fillings onto the bottom piece
- Fresh herbs – coriander/cilantro, basil, mint
- Cucumber and red onion (if desired)
- Pickled items – carrot, daikon, garlic
- Put the two layers together.
- Enjoy a banh mi panini.
If you have a panini press, skip the heating step, assemble the panini and heat in the press.