Pork belly/pate banh mi with homemade mayo and pickled carrots
I don't post much about cooking because I'm no expert and there's so many other good cooking blogs. But since I've been practically live-Twittering my bahn mi experiments, it seemed only natural to show the finished product. This one is a bit of a bastard, since it's on a panini roll. That's another thing about my cooking. I rarely make something without adapting several ingredients to whatever's on hand. Anyway, I have some of the city's best banh mi only two or three miles away, but the recent New York Times article made me start considering the use of other ingredients. And there's so many people in L.A. who live much farther from a good banh mi shop, and maybe don't realize that they're fairly easy to replicate.
My first effort, largely constructed with these ingredients from Trader Joe's, was pretty good:
chicken liver pate
touch of hoisin sauce
But I wanted more. Tunatoast on Twitter recommended braised pork belly with sweet soy, so this morning I paid a visit to the new Korean Galleria market Downtown. I consulted a helpful Web site, Viet World Kitchen, and whipped up some homemade mayonaise. I lightly pickled the remaining shredded carrots. Braising seemed too time-consuming, so I quickly grilled the pork belly.
Here are the ingredients of the second, and even more delicious version:
chicken liver pate
grilled pork belly marinated in soy and sugar
lightly pickled carrot and cucumber slices
Of course you can use all different meats, and I'd like to do one with fish or chicken so I don't feel quite so decadent. But this is a fun sandwich to experiment with, and even my improvisatory attempts prove that you can still get that wonderful flavor combination even if you don't have a great banh mi shop in your neighborhood. Have you tried making banh mi? Which ingredients do you feel really make the sandwich?