Lemongrass Pork Bánh Mì with Sriracha Cilantro Aioli

I'm so excited because it's Christmas week! I love this holiday because of the time with family, the food, and the presents. My family isn't that big on gifts but we always get each other a little something. And, we're having a family party this weekend, which will be a lot of fun. And, I'm taking off from work between Christmas and New Year's, which is a total of 11 days out of the office. I'm super excited and I hope to relax and make lots of delicious meals.

I'm also really excited about today's post. I'm not going to lie; even though I ate way too much of this banh mi the night I made it, I ate even more for lunch the next day and then I was craving it for days after it was gone. In fact, I'm still currently craving it because it came out amazingly delicious.

On the day I wanted to make this for dinner, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some bread and the store was out of baguettes. It didn't matter because I just grabbed a soft Italian loaf instead, which worked out great because store bought baguettes tend to be a little too tough for banh mi, which typically require a softer bread with a crisp crust. We also lucked out because we had chicken liver mousse in the fridge (leftover from Thanksgiving) which made a perfect substitute for pate. And, to make this post a little bit more special and make it worth sharing even though I already shared a banh mi post, I decided to whip up a Sriracha and cilantro aioli to drizzle over the sandwich.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
marinated pork
1 lb. center cut pork chops
½ teaspoon minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon roasted red chili paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon sesame oil

banh mi
soft baguette-style bread
pate or chicken liver mousse
2 baby cucumbers, sliced
2 jalapenos, sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves
pickled carrot & daikon

sriracha cilantro aioli
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Sriracha
¼ to ⅓ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Start by getting the marinade together. Mix together lemongrass, red chili paste, garlic, honey, fish sauce, lime juice, and sesame oil.
Pound the pork chops thin between two pieces of parchment paper.
Marinate the pork for 1 hour.
To make the aioli, whisk together the egg yolk, salt, lime juice, and Sriracha. Slowly drizzle in canola oil, whisking continuously, until the aioli thickens up to a saucy consistency.
Chop up a little cilantro and stir it into the aioli.
Cook the pork in a hot pan, about 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and lightly caramelized.
Slice up the pork into small pieces, slice up a cucumber, and slice up a jalapeno. Then, slice open the bread and spread on some pate (or like in my case, chicken liver mousse). Scatter on the cucumber slices, then nestle on the pork, top with jalapenos, sprinkle on some pickled carrot and daikon, and then pile on the cilantro leaves.
Drizzle on plenty of Sriracha cilantro aioli and then close up the sandwich and slice into pieces.
I also made some red curry chicken soup because sandwiches always taste better with soup.
This banh mi is so good. The pork is tender and flavorful and fragrant, the chicken liver mousse adds a richness and unctuousness, the cucumbers add crunch, the jalapenos add spice, the cilantro adds that unmistakable Vietnamese-y kick, and the Sriracha cilantro aioli ties the whole thing together. I can't wait to make this again soon; maybe I'll make it tomorrow and toast it in a panini press.
Here are the recipe pages: