Do you ever have those gastronomical descision-making crises where every single ethnic food category seems like exactly what you’re craving? Do I want Thai or Middle Eastern or Vietnamese or Mexican? And then do you ever want said cravings to be available almost instantaneously? And then … do you realize you’re on a boat somewhere remote and not in the middle of Manhattan or Los Angeles or another ethnic takeout capital? It’s enough to make a pirate take his chunk of hard tack to his hammock and whimper. But what if I told you that you could have Vietnamese flavor and Mexican convenience in about 45 minutes out there at anchor? Okay … now that I have your attention….
Don’t let the ingredients list worry you … these really were ready in about 45 minutes, split between getting off the dock and setting the sails.
Bánh Mì Burritos
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
¾ cup shredded carrots
¾ cup thinly sliced Persian, Kirby or European cucumbers
½ cup shredded daikon or regular radish
4 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
4-6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
Hoisin sauce and Sriracha chile sauce
Vegetable oil, for grilling
Fresh mint and cilantro sprigs
In a hand cranked food processor or blender, puree the fish sauce with the honey, sugar, pepper, scallions and garlic. Transfer the marinade to a bowl or ziploc bag, add the pork and toss. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours — I set this to marinate in the morning and let them sit for the hour and a half or so while we made things ship shape to head out on the water. All told, it may have had two hours — could easily have gotten better with a bit more time.
Thread the pork through the top and bottom of each slice onto skewers.
Brush the pork with oil and grill over high heat, turning, until just cooked, about 5-6 minutes. The meat will be opaque-white and firm. Or declare Grill Pirate rights and just pull a piece off to taste test!
Grilled to perfection…
Meanwhile, to make the pickled vegetables: In a bowl or mason jar, toss together the carrots, cucumbers, daikon, vinegar, sugar and salt and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. I couldn’t find daikon radishes at our little local grocery so I used regular and they were most enjoyable. White daikon radishes have a great bite to them, though, so if you can find them, use them! I like a mason jar because it’s easy to walk by and give them a shake or a turn to get all the vegetables into the brine. Plus if the captain decides it’s time to get underway, it’s easily stashed in the sink and safe.
When you’re ready to serve, spread the tortillas with hoisin and Sriracha — this is “to taste”…the captain thought this one a bit heavy on the hoisin, so I used a bit less on his. Place 1-2 skewers worth of pork on each tortilla.
Top with the pickles and fresh mint and cilantro sprigs. One marvelous thing about making these as burritos rather than the traditional Vietnamese sandwich is that you can totally overstuff them. The key is to wrap the burrito in foil as you close it up (fold the ends up, then the long edges in, then wrap tightly in foil) — this holds it all together, and then you slice in half straight through the foil (see picture up top), which continues to keep the package intact. The diner can peel back bits of foil as they bite into delicious, umami-ey, juicy pork, briny-brite pickles, tangy sauce and pungent herbs.
You will find a skipper most grateful for the mouthwatering lunch that’s nonetheless manageable even while manning the helm!
Banh Mi Burritos
- 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 6 scallions white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin thinly sliced
- ¾ cup shredded carrots
- ¾ cup thinly sliced Persian Kirby or European cucumbers
- ½ cup shredded daikon or regular radish
- 4 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 4-6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
- Hoisin sauce and Sriracha chile sauce
- Vegetable oil for grilling
- Fresh mint and cilantro sprigs
- For meat: puree fish sauce, honey, sugar, pepper, scallions and garlic together. In bowl or ziploc bag, combine with pork to coat and let sit refrigerated for 2-4 hours. Thread through both ends of each piece of pork onto skewers. When ready to cook, brush with vegetable oil and grill over high heat until done, about 5-7 minutes.
- For pickles: combine vegetables, vinegar, sugar and salt together in a bowl or mason jar and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- To serve: spread tortillas with Hoisin and Sriracha sauce to taste. Place 1-2 skewers worth of meat on each and top with pickles, mint and cilantro. Roll (tuck ends up, fold long edges in, and wrap in foil) and cut in half to serve.