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Banh Mi Burger

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 117

You can substitute half of the carrots with daikon radish for an even more authentic flavor. To speed up the process you can buy already julienned carrots in the produce section of your supermarket.

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick matchsticks (about 1-1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Canola or vegetable oil for brushing
  • 4 crusty rolls, such as French baguettes, split
  • 1/4 medium English cucumber, cut into 16-1/8-inch slices
  • 1 medium jalapeño, cut into 16 thin slices
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 4 thin slices of ham
  • Mayonnaise

Put the carrots in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1-1/2 tsp. of the sugar and 1/2 tsp. of salt. Using your hands, toss the carrots in the salt and sugar to begin expelling the water from them, about 3 minutes. They will soften and liquid will begin to pool in the bottom of the bowl. The carrots are ready when they can bend easily without snapping in half and they have lost about a third of their volume. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Gently press down on the carrots to push out any additional water.

In the same bowl, combine 2 Tbs. of the sugar, the vinegar, and 1/4 cup of lukewarm water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the carrots to the pickling liquid (the liquid should be covering the carrots) and let sit for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the pork, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and the remaining 1-1/2 tsp. sugar. Shape into four 4-inch wide, 1/2-inch-thick patties and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill or a grill pan at medium-high heat. Brush and oil the grates.

Make a thumbprint in the center of each of the burgers and then place on the grill. Grill the first side until grill marks form, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 145°F, about 3 minutes more.

Remove the burgers from the grill and let rest on a plate. Place the buns on the grill and toast until grill marks form on both sides, about 1 minute per side.

Spread a small amount of mayonnaise on the upper and lower halves of the buns. Lay a burger on the lower bun and top with a quarter of the carrot pickle, 4 cucumber slices, 4 jalapeño slices, a few cilantro leaves, a slice of ham, and the top half of the bun. Repeat with the other 3 burgers and serve.

Photo: Scott Phillips

These were delicious, with daikon instead of carrot for no particular reason. I'll make them again and again, I'm sure.

This is my husbands favorite. He loves Asian food anyway, but this burger is something special. The flavors are amazing and it's really easy to prepare. I have yet to find a recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine that I didn't like or that didn't turn out well. It's my go to' magazine for ideas.

These were very good. My family kept saying "why would you ever eat a regular burger ever again if you could have these?" The only alteration I made was to use sambal oelek instead of chili garlic sauce, since that's what I had in fridge, and added a clove of garlic instead. Also, I made 5 small burgers instead of four larger ones. Otherwise, exactly as said and it was fantastic.

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