Saturday, March 23, 2013

Revamped: Caramel Glazed Pork Belly Banh Mi’s with Asian Pickled Carrots + Daikon, Sriracha Bread n’ Butter Pickles, Fresh Jalapeno + Candied Jalapeno, Fresh Cilantro, and a Homemade Red Rooster Aioli on Crispy, Garlic-Rubbed Bread

Caramel Glazed Pork Belly Banh Mi’s with Asian Pickled Carrots + Daikon, 
Sriracha Bread n’ Butter Pickles, Fresh Jalapeno + Candied Jalapeno, Fresh Cilantro, 
and a Homemade Red Rooster Aioli on Crispy, Garlic-Rubbed Bread
This sandwich is epic. On every single level. I could sit here and tell you about my deep-rooted love for fatty pork belly, but even then, I don't think y'all would understand the magnitude of its' greatness. We had our first pork belly banh mi at one of our favorite little cafe in Atlanta called Star Provisions. I mean, every single one of their sandwiches are top notch, but that banh mi was life-changing. Their bread was perfectly toasted and slathered in a spicy mayo, and then it was stuffed with pickled Asian vegetables, spicy peppers, and glazed pork belly. I had tried once before to recreate this sandwich at home, but it just did not measure up and I knew I would revamp it some day down the road. Well, the other day, I woke up ambitious... today was the day. The task ahead was certainly daunting because I wanted to make every single component from scratch (naturally). Let's start with the caramel glazed pork belly, which is the most important part of the entire recipe. I cut the belly into cubes and braised them in classic Asian ingredients like fish sauce, Sriracha, and garlic. This braising caramel softens and cooks the pork, but also lends a gorgeous mahogany color. Every little glistening piece of glazed pork belly looks like a shiny jewel. What doesn't sound good about that? Next, you gotta focus on the pickled vegetables. All banh mi's must have carrots, daikon, and cucumbers. For the carrots + daikon, I used one of my favorite quick pickle recipes with Asian ingredients. I personally hate cucumbers, so I substituted in some of my homemade Sriracha-Bread n' Butter Pickles. They are spicy, sweet, crunchy, and Asian-inspired, so they were the perfect addition. As for what brings the heat to the sandwich comes from fresh jalapenos, candied jalapenos, and the Homemade Red Rooster Aioli. I know that I have declared my undying love for candied jalapenos, and it's obviously apparent because I include them in almost every recipe I make. Oh and this aioli... this stuff is what dreams are made of. Whipping up mayo might be a process, but I feel that is so worth it. It is studded with a whole mess of minced garlic and Asian chili-garlic sauce. And hey, the aioli is perfectly pink, which I kinda-sorta-really dig. Now, it's time to talk bread. Bread isn't just a vehicle for food delivery anymore, it should be planned carefully. We chose some small baguettes, sliced them in half, brushed them with oil, and toasted them until they were crunchy and golden brown in color. While they are still hot, grab a large clove of garlic and rub the toasted bread for extra flavor and a yummy garlic aroma. Lastly, you have to bring some fresh herbs in to the picture... cilantro is a classic choice, but we have used Thai basil and it was delicious as well. And that's it folks. That's all you have to do to be in sandwich heaven, like us. It might be an intimidating recipe, but the results are worth the hard work. Gluttony at its best, trust me!! Enjoy :)
Lots of Red Rooster Aioli + Jalapenos 
Perfectly Layered.
Isn't the color contrast ridiculous? Do. Not. Leave. Out. The. Cilantro.
Soooo good, y'all. Don't miss out on this. 
For the Caramel Glazed Pork Belly:
2T Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
¼C Each of Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sugar, & Honey
¼-½C Sriracha (depending on how spicy you want it)
2lbs Pork Belly, Cut into 1inch Cubes
2T Vegetable Oil
2 Large Shallots, Minced
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2T Fish Sauce
1-2C Water (or enough to just barely cover the pork belly cubes in the pot)
½t Black Peppercorns
3T Sugar
2T Warm Water

For the Asian Pickled Carrots + Daikon:
2C Rice Wine Vinegar
2/3C Brown Sugar
¼C Fresh Lime Juice
1T Salt
½t Red Pepper Flakes
1lb Daikon & Carrots, Peeled & Thinly Sliced into Wheels

Homemade Red Rooster Aioli:
1 Egg Yolk
1t White Vinegar
1 ½t Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
¼t Dijon Mustard & Sugar
1 Garlic Clove, Minced into a Paste (with a little bit of sea salt)
½t Salt
¾C Canola Oil
2T Asian Chili-Garlic Sauce or Sriracha
½t Cayenne
½t Homemade Sriracha Cajun Seasoning  

For the Crispy, Garlic-Rubbed Bread:
4 Small Loaves or Rolls, Sliced in Half
Vegetable oil or Sesame Oil, For Brushing
Chinese Five-Spice Powder, For Sprinkling
1 Large Garlic Clove, For Rubbing

For the Caramel Glazed Pork Belly Banh Mi’s:
Prepared Caramel Glazed Pork Belly Cubes, Warm
Homemade Red Rooster Aioli
Asian Pickled Carrots + Daikon
Homemade Sriracha Bread n’ Butter Pickles
Candied Jalapeno Slices
Fresh Jalapeno, Thinly Sliced
Fresh Cilantro Sprigs
Crispy, Garlic-Rubbed Bread (toasted & hot)

1. For the Caramel Glazed Pork Belly: In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add in the fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. As the sugar begins to melt, the mixture will start to thicken up into a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Once it starts to thicken, whisk in the honey and Sriracha until smooth and thick (don’t let the sauce unattended because it will burn). Set aside to thicken while you prepare the pork belly. In a deep pot, bring the oil to medium heat. Add in the shallots and slowly cook for 1 minute, then add in the garlic. Cook both until soft and fragrant. Add the pork belly cubes and cook for about 10-15 minutes until they have started to brown. Toss in the fish sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add in the water, along with the peppercorns, until it just covers the pork cubes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Gently stir in the previously made caramel that has thickened. Continue to braise the pork on medium-low heat for about an hour, while stirring occasionally. After it has finished braising, pour out the braising liquid, only leaving about 2 inches of it still with the cooked pork. Now, it is time to make a second caramel. In a small pot, whisk together the sugar and warm water over medium heat. The sugar will begin to melt and then turn into a golden brown caramel. Quickly pour the caramel over the pork belly and mix with a wooden spoon until it has all been incorporated. Turn the heat up to medium to reduce and caramelized the pork, about 20-30 minutes. The cubes will be cooked though, but still tender, and will have a dark caramel color with a thick glaze. Remove from the heat and keep it warm until you are ready to serve.
2. For the Asian Pickled Carrots + Daikon: Combine the vinegar, sugar, limejuice, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil until the sugar as dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Combine the Daikon and carrots in clean mason jars. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and let them pickle for at least an hour before serving (preserve the other jars that you don’t use). When you are ready to layer them onto the sandwich, remove them from the pickling liquid and lightly pat them dry (this will help to avoid making your sandwich soggy when eating it).
3. For the Red Rooster Aioli: Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, minced garlic, and ½t salt in medium bowl. Whisk until blended and bright yellow, about 30 seconds. Using ¼t measuring spoon and whisking constantly, add ¼C e oil to yolk mixture, a few drops at a time, about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add remaining ½C canola oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick, about 8-10 minutes (mayonnaise will be lighter in color). Season the mayo with Asian chili-garlic sauce, sugar, cayenne, and Sriracha Cajun seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
4. For the Crispy, Garlic-Rubbed Bread: Place the bread on a baking sheet and brush them heavily with some oil. Lightly sprinkle the top with a little of Chinese Five-Spice Powder. Toast in the oven until golden brown and crispy. Immediately rub the crispy bread with a fresh garlic clove. Now, it’s time to assemble the sandwiches.
5. Assembling the Sandwiches: Generously spread the slices of bread with the Homemade Red Rooster Aioli. Layer on the caramel pork belly cubes, daikon, carrots, Sriracha Bread n’ Butter Pickles, fresh jalapeno, candied jalapeno, and sprigs of fresh cilantro. Top the sandwiches with the top piece of bread and enjoy immediately!


  1. Oh gooooooosh this sammich is flipping epic!!!

    1. Oh gurllllllll, it was epic! You gotta try it :)


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