Merivale’s head chef Dan Hong shares his recipe for mouthwatering mini banh mi sliders.
Don’t be intimidated by the long recipe, just take it step by step and next thing you know you will be chowing down on the best sliders you have ever eaten!
Mini Pork Banh Mi
This recipe needs to be started a week in advance, as the pickled daikon radishes and carrots need at least that long to…well, pickle. Aside from that, the rest of the components can be started the day before assembly. Ive decided to do the “everything from scratch” version here just to show what our kitchen does to make these little bundles of joy but certain steps can be made to make this experience easier for the home cook.
- you can buy a good quality pate instead of making your own
- you can go to the local chinese bbq shop and buy some “Siu Yuk” (roasted pork belly) to substitute the braised pork belly
- Instead of trying to find mini individual buns, you can slice a long baguette into 1 cm thick slices..it will look more like a mini sandwich than a “slider” but it will definitely taste the same
1.5kg pork belly, rib bones removed, skin on
3 carrots, julienned
1 daikon, julienned
6 Lebanese cucumbers
1 cha luo (Vietnamese pork loaf, available from most Vietnamese grocers or butchers)
Small, soft white rolls
1L white vinegar
500g caster sugar
375g Japanese mayonnaise (Kenko or Kewpie brand)
65g Sriracha (Huy Fong brand)
1 tbsp Knorr liquid seasoning (vital for your Vietnamese cooking arsenal)
Pork Liver Pate
800g pork livers, soaked in milk overnight
125ml xiao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2tbsp vegetable oil for frying
375ml xiao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
375ml light soy sauce
125ml dark soy sauce
Salt to taste
125g rock sugar
10 cloves garlic
10cm piece of ginger
1b green shallots
5g licorice root
10 star anise
2 cassia bark
5 clove buds
2 pieces of Chinese cardamom
Make the masterstock
- In a food processor, roughly chop garlic, eschallots and ginger
- In a big stock pot, on medium heat, sauté the garlic, ginger and eschallots until golden.
- Deglaze the pot by pouring in the xiao xing. Bring the lot to a boil then boil rapidly until the alcohol has evaporated, which should take about 3 minutes or so.
- Add water, dark and light soy sauce, rock sugar and salt to taste
- Place the liquorice, cassia, star anise, cloves, and Chinese cardamom in a muslin bag, or tie them into a pouch using cheesecloth and butchers twine. Drop the spice pouch into the pot.
- Add the roughly chopped bunch of green shallots.
- Bring to boil, then turn it down to a simmer for at least half hour to let the flavours infuse.
Braising the pork
- Carefully lower the pork belly into the masterstock, turn up the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. As soon as it’s reached a boil, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for 3-4 hours or until the pork belly is tender.
- In a baking dish large enough to fit your pork belly, line the bottom with baking paper.
- Carefully lift out the pork belly from the stock, being mindful to keep everything in one piece: not easy to do, since the pork is very soft at this point! Place the pork on the tray, skin side down. Cover with another piece of baking paper, place a baking tray of same size on top, then press the pork belly overnight, weighing the pans down with heavy objects like jars or bottles (just make sure they’re evenly distributed, or you’ll end up with uneven piece of pork).
The pickled carrots and daikon radish
- In a large mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, salt, vinegar. Whisk vigorously until the sugar and salt is completely dissolved.
- Place the julienned carrots and daikons in an airtight container, then cover with pickling liquid.
- Allow the pickles to sit for about a week before you use them.
The pork liver pate
- Drain and wash the pork livers thoroughly under running cold water.
- Carefully trim any veins, and dice them into 2cm chunks.
- Chop the cold butter into small cubes.
- In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp veg oil, then add the livers, making sure you don’t crowd the pan. If necessary, cook them in small batches. Do not stir!
- After a minute or so, add the thinly sliced garlic. At this stage, the liver should be partially cooked, but not completely. Deglaze the pan with the xiao xing and cook out the alcohol, which should take about 3 minutes.
- Quickly remove the partially cooked livers, place them in a food processor, along with the cold butter cubes, and blitz until smooth.
- Season with fish sauce and white pepper to taste.
- Place the pate into an airtight container, and place a piece of baking paper or cling film on the surface of the pate. Place in the fridge.
- Once the pate is cool enough, place the lid on the container and continue chilling in the fridge until use.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sriracha, mayonnaise, and Knorr seasoning, whisk until incorporated.
- Thinly slice the Lebanese cucumber on a mandolin, to about 3mm thickness. Sprinkle generously with salt, then gently work the salt into the cucumber with your fingers. Continue until liquid begins to extract out of the cucumber, cover.
- After half hour, wash the salt off the cucumber under cold running water. Continue rinsing until the cucumber no longer tastes excessively salty.
Frying the Pork
- Using a meat slicer, or a very sharp knife, slice the Cha Luo as thinly as possible, set aside for assembly.
- Once the pork is pressed over night, it is much easier to cut into slices, depending on the size of your roll, the thickness should be around 1.5cm thick, but the size should be around the same as the rolls.
- Preheat a deep-fryer to 175c, drop the sliced pork into the deep-fryer or alternatively you can pan-fry the pork pieces in a little oil on medium heat, until golden and crispy.
- Cut the white rolls in half. Spread the bottom half generously with the pork liver pate.
- Top the pate with a few thin slices of cha luo.
- Top the cha luo with the fried pork, then pickled cucumbers, pickled daikons and carrots, coriander leaves, then lastly a generous dollop of sriracha mayonnaise.