Of all the cuisines, Vietnamese has to be one of the hardest to make at home. I think it has something to do with that combination of cooked and raw ingredients, the mysterious (and delicious) sauces and marinades, and the cooking techniques that are too involved for home cooking (charbroiling, anyone?). This banh mi bowl may by the exception. A riff on this recipe by Budget Bytes, this is a bit of a take on bun, but with meatballs instead of spring rolls or assorted meats, and rice instead of vermicelli. Add some fresh cucumber and cilantro, and a simple pickled mixture of carrot and onion, and you’ve got a super satisfying meal.
First, you gotta pickle your veg. You create a simple pickling liquid and add it to grated carrots and thinly sliced onions. Stick it in the fridge and let it do its thing for at least 30 minutes.
Next up – meatballs! The original recipe uses pork, but I use turkey instead. Add an egg, breadcrumbs, soy sauce, sesame oil, green onion, ginger, and garlic, roll those puppies up, and put them in the oven. They take about 25 minutes.
While those are cooking, I make rice, slice up some cucumbers, and wash some cilantro.
Once the meatballs and rice are done, it’s time to assemble. Rice at the bottom, the rest on top. I also like to add a squirt of sriracha for some heat.
Though it’s a few steps, it’s totally worth it.
Banh Mi Bowls, adapted from Budget Bytes
- two mediums carrots
- one small yellow onion
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 inches fresh ginger, grated
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
Make the pickled carrots. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, and water to a small saucepan and heat over medium until sugar and salt is dissolved. Remove from heat. Grate carrots and thinly slice onions and place in a bowl. Add pickling liquid (it cover the vegetables), cover bowl, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat over to 400. Combine all meatball ingredients and mix well (I like using my hands). Line a baking sheet with silpat (or just spread some vegetable oil on it). Make meatballs (I end up with 25ish) and place on sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
While meatballs are in the oven, make rice. Wash cilantro and thinly slice cucumbers.
Assemble bowl with rice on the bottom and everything (don’t forget the pickled carrots in the fridge) on top. Add sauces (sriracha, soy sauce) of your choice and enjoy.