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Ms G's: Mini pork banh mi
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- 750 gm piece boneless pork belly, skin on
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- For deep-frying: vegetable oil
- 24 mini soft rolls, halved, or 1 baguette, cut into 4cm pieces
- 120 gm chicken liver pâté
- 250 gm cha lua, thinly sliced (see note)
- 1 cup (loosely packed) coriander
- 500 ml (2 cups) white vinegar
- 250 gm caster sugar
- 1½ carrots, cut into julienne
- ½ daikon, cut into julienne
- 5 red shallots, coarsely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 25 gm (5cm piece) ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 200 ml Shaoxing wine
- 200 ml light soy sauce
- 60 ml (¼ cup) dark soy sauce
- 60 gm rock sugar, crushed (see note)
- 5 star anise
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 piece each cassia bark, Chinese brown cardamom and licorice root (see note)
- ½ bunch spring onions, coarsely chopped
- 180 gm Japanese mayonnaise, such as Kenko or Kewpie (see note)
- 30 gm Sriracha sauce (see note)
Prep time 1 hr, cook 4 hrs 40 mins (plus pickling, cooling, draining)
You'll need to begin this recipe a week ahead.
For pickled carrot and daikon, combine vinegar, sugar, 2 tsp sea salt flakes and 250ml water in a jug, whisk to combine. Place carrot and daikon in a sealable plastic container, cover with pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate to pickle (5 days). Pickles will keep refrigerated for 4 weeks.
For master stock, process shallot, garlic and ginger in a food processor to a coarse paste. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat, add shallot mixture, stir occasionally until golden (3-5 minutes). Add Shaoxing wine, bring to the simmer and reduce by half (2-4 minutes), then add soy sauces, sugar, a large pinch of salt and 4.5 litres water. Tie spices in a piece of muslin to form a parcel, add to stock with spring onion, reduce heat
to low and simmer to infuse (30 minutes).
Add pork belly to master stock, weight with a plate to fully submerge and simmer until very tender (3-4 hours). Carefully remove pork and transfer to a tray lined with baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper on top, then another tray, evenly weight with food cans, refrigerate overnight. Strain master stock and reserve for another use (see note).
Rub 2 tsp sea salt flakes into cucumber in a colander and set aside to drain excess liquid (30 minutes). Rinse well under cold running water, dry on absorbent paper, set aside.
Preheat oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 175C. Slice pork belly into 1.5cm-thick pieces and cut length to fit rolls (about 4cm). Deep-fry in small batches until golden and crisp (3-4 minutes). Be very careful as hot oil will spit; we recommend using a spatter guard. Drain on absorbent paper.
Meanwhile, for Sriracha mayonnaise, whisk ingredients in a bowl to combine then refrigerate until required.
Spread roll bases with pâté, top with cha lua, pork belly, cucumber, pickles and coriander, finish with Sriracha mayonnaise, sandwich with tops and serve.