Sriracha is often the not-so-secret ingredient to these sandwiches. Sriracha was named “ingredient of the year” by Bon Appetit, and it seems to be one of the few hot sauces that everyone can agree on. If you like it hot, use it full strength and use a lot of it. Not so hot, just water it down with ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce or olive oil, or whatever else your recipe calls for.
This version calls for pork meatballs, but you can find a lot of other options at the definitive Bành Mì reference site, The Battle of the Bành Mì.
Two things to make ahead of time:
1. Chili Sauce Mayo: Mix about 1/2 cup mayo with a couple or three squirts of Sriracha or other hot chili sauce. Wait, I take that back … you have to use Sriracha. I mean, you could use something else, but why? You can also add some chopped green onions, minced garlic, or minced ginger, but try it with just the Sriracha first.
2. Pickled veggies. Mix together 1-2 cups of julienned or coarsely grated carrots, an equal amount of daikon (Japanese white radish), and maybe some red peppers if you have them. In a small measuring cup, mix 1/4 cup rice vinegar with 1/4 sugar, and 1 tsp sea or kosher salt, and stir until everything is dissolved. Pour the pickling solution over the veggies and let stand for at least an hour, or even overnight.
1 pound ground pork; 1/4 cup chopped basil (fresh) or 1-2 tbs dried basil; 3-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped; 2-3 green onions, minced; 1 Tbs fish sauce (optional); 1-2 Tbs Srirachi (rooster sauce); 1 Tbs sugar; 2 tsp corn starch; 1 tsp each salt and pepper.
Mix it all in a large bowl and roll into 1 inch balls. Keeping your hands wet will make that a little bit easier, so you might want a bowl of water nearby. You can also make these the day before, and just store in an airtight container.
Set your oven to 275º and heat a large skillet (non-stick) with a few tablespoons of sesame oil. Cook the meatballs in portions, depending on the size of your skillet, turning frequently and browning all sides. After about 10 minutes, move to a large, heavy duty baking sheet and move to the oven while you do the rest of the meatballs. When the last batch is done, cook for another 10-15 minutes and then turn off the oven while you prep everything else.
Spread the chili-mayo on your roll, fill it with meatballs, and stuff with the pickled veggies. Sprinkle a bit of fresh chopped cilantro on your sandwich and enjoy.
Serving suggestion: Side salad of romaine, red peppers, and cukes with your choice of Asian dressings. We used this one:
Simmer 1/3 cup rice vinegar with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp salt, then add 1-2 tsp minced garlic and ginger. After simmering, strain out the solids. Cool, then add 1/4 sesame oil and 3/4 cup olive oil