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FlavuhflavuhFLAVE! Sometimes, you just need something to wake up your mouth. If you’re like me, you might miss the powerful flavors of hot peppers in a dish. There are ways, my friends, to achieve super flavor without triggering a big ol’ puffy response from nightshades. With elements like lemon grass, mint, cilantro, lime, horseradish, and vinegar, you will not be bored. This banh mi-inspired recipe is fresh, sweet, slightly spicy, and tangy all at once.
Have you heard of banh mi? It is a Vietnamese sandwich filled with some things that are less-than-friendly to us. (And it’s a sandwich, so there’s that…) I decided to create a dish that is more flavorful, just as exciting, and a bit (gasp!) adventurous. I threw these ingredients in a bowl instead of a bun, and went to town.
A couple of things: please find the freshest horseradish root possible, maybe even one that is slightly green. Horseradish root that is old can impart a bitter aftertaste. Also, your life will be made SO much easier if you have a gadget called a julienne peeler. This makes short work of julienned veggies. Otherwise, you’ll be chopping things into itty-bitty pieces forever.
Let’s get this banh mi party started.
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1 lb pork loin
- 2 lemon grass stalks
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Juice of one lime, about 2 tablespoons
- 1 Daikon radish, julienned
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ⅓ cup chopped mint
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons grated horseradish root
- Juice of one lime
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons AIP fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 8 cups (loosely packed) or one 5-ounce bag of spring mix
- Red radishes cut into matchsticks for garnish
- Chopped mint for garnish
- Chopped cilantro for garnish
- In a cooker such as an Instant Pot set to "sear," or a pan on the stove, heat the oil. Brown the pork on all sides. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker, or switch your cooker to "slow cook."
- Peel off outermost leaves of lemon grass. Bruise the lemon grass by whacking or cracking it with the back of a knife. Cut each stalk into three lengths. Add the pieces to the pot.
- Whisk together the garlic, salt, honey, vinegar and lime juice. Add this mixture to the pot, and turn the meat to coat.
- Slow cook on low for 5 hours, or until meat is very tender.
- When the meat is finished cooking, remove it to a plate and shred it.
- Remove the lemon grass from the cooker. Switch to "reduce" for 5 minutes, or reduce the liquid in a saucepan on the stove to about half. Pour this mixture over the shredded meat. Meanwhile...
- Place julienned Daikon radish and carrot in a bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, salt and honey until the honey has dissolved. Pour over vegetables, and turn to combine.
- Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Whirl all dressing ingredients in a mini food processor or blender. Set aside.
- Just before you are ready to serve, place the spring mix in a large bowl. Add just enough dressing to moisten all the leaves. Serve the rest of the dressing at table.
- In each bowl, place some dressed greens. Add a serving of shredded pork. Top all of this with some pickled veggies.
- Garnish generously with red radishes, chopped cilantro, and chopped mint.