Sous Vide 5 Spice Pork Belly Bánh Mì Sandwich
Some say that bacon is the gateway meat, but to me it’s pork belly. Hands down. With luscious layering of meat and fat, this decadent cut of pork just oozes unctuous goodness, with each bite leaving your lips coated in a blanket of gelatinous heaven.
Yes, it’s that good.
To balance the decadence of this spiced fatty pork I paired it with the fresh and vibrant flavors of a bánh mì, a popular Vietnamese sandwich. A bánh mì is typically filled with meat (though sometimes vegetarian); vegetables, such as pickled carrots and daikon radish; fresh herbs like cilantro; a chili sauce and mayonnaise. The ingredients are stuffed within a soft and airy baguette-like bread known also as bánh mì (both words meaning “wheat”).
I started with a pork belly and thoroughly coated it with a home blend of five Asian spices (recipe included below). In a pinch you could use a store-bought Chinese 5 spice blend, but I like having the control over how much or how little of one spice or another I include. Like the strong yet sweet licoricey flavor of star anise? Add a bit more. Want less of a cinnamon flavor? Add less. Start with our recipe then adjust the flavors to suit your own palate. The key to great cooking is to taste!
Also to balance the flavors of this sandwich, I like to add a drizzle of Golden Mountain sauce. Though technically a Thai sauce many bánh mì aficionados include this condiment. Similar to soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce is a bit saltier with just a hint of sweetness. Another option in lieu of using Golden Mountain sauce is Maggi Seasoning. Look for Golden Mountain (in a bottle with a green cap) in Asian supermarkets or online.
Get ready for one righteous pork sandwich!
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Prep Time: 00:25
Recipe Time: 36:00
160F / 71.1C
- 4 whole star anise
- 8 cloves
- 1 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar or raw sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 pound skinless pork belly
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
- 1 small daikon radish, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
- 4 soft torpedo bread rolls or 1 soft baguette, cut into fourths
- Golden Mountain sauce
- Sriracha (optional)
- Fresh cilantro
- Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 160ºF (71ºC).
- Place the star anise, cloves, and peppercorns in a spice grinder. Grind to a powder. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in Demerara sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Rub pork belly with the spice mixture. Transfer to a large zipper lock or vacuum seal bag. Seal the bag using the water immersion technique or a vacuum sealer on the moist setting.
- Place the bag in the water bath and set the timer for 36 hours. Cover the water bath with plastic wrap to minimize water evaporation. Add water intermittently to keep the pork belly submerged.
- While the pork is cooking, prepare the “quickled” carrots and daikon: Combine the water, rice vinegar, granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the carrot and daikon and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
- When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Remove the pork from the bag and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.
- To assemble the bánh mì: Slice bread lengthways, leaving one side attached. Spread mayonnaise on the inside of both sides of the bread. Top with a drizzle of Golden Mountain sauce. Add Sriracha, if using.
- Remove carrot and daikon pickles from the brine. Divide pickles between the bottom halves of each sandwich. Top pickles with a slightly overlapping layer of sliced pork belly and a generous handful of fresh cilantro.
- Close up the sandwich and enjoy! These are excellent with an ice cold Vietnamese beer or a Hefeweizen garnished with an orange slice.