May 26, 2012

Vietnamese Pork Roll with Coleslaw

I love a good old fashioned Vietnamese Pork Roll. You can get it, made to order, from the many Vietnamese bakeries dotted along streets like Victoria Street in Richmond, Springvale Road in Springvale and Hopkins Street in Footscray.

In Vietnamese, the pork roll is known as bánh mì thịt (literally "bread and meat") and is basically a sandwich made from a white, airy baguette with a thin and crispy crust. It can include various meat fillings such as grilled pork, grilled pork patties, grilled chicken, meat floss, roasted pork belly, pork meatballs in a tomato sauce, Vietnamese seasoned pork roll (also known as Vietnamese ham) and spreadable pork liver pâté. The salad served with it usually includes shredded and pickled carrots and daikon, sliced cucumber, spring onion, coriander and fresh chilli - finished off with a drizzle of soy sauce and ground white pepper. Yum!

Below is my twist on a Vietnamese pork roll. For the meat filling, I used Vietnamese ham (chả lụa) and pork liver pâté. The salad includes a mixture of vegetables and herbs, combined to form a crisp and refreshing Vietnamese coleslaw.

Vietnamese ham can be found, wrapped and sealed in banana leaves, in Asian groceries. It is sometimes labelled as "Vietnamese seasoned pork roll". You can purchase canned pâté from delicatessens, supermarkets, Mediterranean food stores or in small containers from some Vietnamese bakeries.

Serves 4:
- 4 baguette rolls, from a Vietnamese bakery (usually $1 for 4)
- 1 x 78g can of pork liver pâté
- 1 x 450g roll of Vietnamese seasoned ham, sliced
- ¼ savoy cabbage, shredded
- 1 lebanese cucumber, sliced lengthways
- 1 carrot, grated
- Handful of Vietnamese herbs, shredded. From my garden I picked a mixture of coriander, spearmint (húng lui), Asian basil (rau que), fish mint (diep cá
) and Vietnamese mint (rau răm).
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp white sugar 
- 1 tsp fish sacue
- Soy sauce and ground white pepper, to serve

In a colander, combine the carrot and cabbage with the salt and vinegar. Set aside over a shallow dish for at least 1 hour to slightly cure. Squeeze the vegetables with your hands to extract excess juices and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir the sugar with the fish sauce until dissolved. Pour this over the vegetables and mix to combine. Taste, and adjust the seasonings to your preference by adding in more salt, vinegar, sugar or fish sauce, if required. Add the herbs and combine.

Slice the baguettes in half lengthways and evenly spread the pâté over one side of each of the rolls. Add the sliced ham, followed by the cucumber and the salad. Finally, if desired, drizzle over soy sauce and sprinkle on the white pepper. Serve and enjoy! :)

Vietnamese Pork Roll with Coleslaw

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