My dinner is better than your dinner {no. 1}

I have some weeks where I make amazing dinners.  Then there are the other weeks...  But in general I'm pretty sure that my dinner is better than your dinner.  In order to bridge that gap a little I've started this little series where every month I'll inspire you with a dinner idea that you may not have thought of.

First up is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich and one of my dear obsessions; Bahn Mi with Coconut Rice.  This dinner takes about an hour from start to finish.  Unless you pickle the vegetables now and we're looking at twenty minutes tonight. 

Groceries you'll need
White rice
Coconut milk
Shredded coconut
One pound of pork (I use chops because they're always around)
Four carrots
Medium sized daikon radish
Two bell peppers
French baguette rolls

From the pantry
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Black pepper

Pickled Vegetables
4 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
1 medium daikon radish cut into matchsticks
2 bell peppers cut into matchsticks
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ cup rice vinegar

Slide all vegetables into a one quart mason jar not packing too tightly.  Gently warm water – I recommend thirty seconds in the microwave.  When warmed add sugar and salt and whisk until dissolved.  Add vinegar.  Pour vinegar mixture into jar – it should just cover vegetables.  Let sit at least one hour or up to five days for maximum pickle-age.

2 cloves garlic
1 pound pork, sliced thin
2 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon fish sauce

Heat a wok (or flat bottomed pan) over high heat.  Add oil and garlic and cook one minute, or until garlic is fragrant.  There should be a lot of sizzling.  Add pork and cook, stirring minimally until browned on all sides and not pink any longer.  Quickly add fish sauce and stir to coat meat.  Remove from heat and start assembling sandwiches.

To assemble, toast baguettes in a toaster or the oven until lightly browned.  Smear both sides of the bread with mayonnaise.  Top the bread with a handful of vegetables, pork and a sprinkle of soy sauce. 

Step 1 :: Prepare the pickled vegetables and set aside.  By the time everything else is done they will be pretty darn good.  If you're going for pretty darn amazing then make these the day before.

Step 2 :: Start the rice.

Step 3 :: Cut the pork and get your pan hot.  Start cooking.  You'll need about 10 minutes to cook it through.

Step 4 :: Toast the buns.

Step 5 :: Assemble, scoop out rice, pour a drink.

Click here for the coconut rice recipe and here for a one page version of the whole she-bang.

* Apologies if you are Vietnamese or a Vietnamese food expert as these are definitely a cheaters version of a fabulous sandwich.  But they make a darn good dinner.  Inspiration for the original dinner that spawned this cheater version came from White on Rice Couple.  Their pork belly sounds divine, but hard.  The stories are hilarious so it's definitely worth a click through.

Alexandra HedinComment