Banh Mi is a Vietnamese Pork Sandwich that has an explosion of flavors. This Asian sandwich is assembled on a toasted French baguette with pork, pickled vegetables, pate, fresh herbs, and condiments. Bring home the flavors of your favorite takeout Vietnamese sandwich using this easy banh mi pork recipe. [Instant Pot and Stovetop Instructions included!]
[This Asian pulled pork Instant Pot recipe was modified in February 2020 to provide stovetop instructions.]
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Bahn mi has really grown in popularity with the onset of the food truck phenomenon in the US. I was introduced to banh mi when I visited a neighborhood Vietnamese sandwich shop and I was hooked from the first bite! It really is one of the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever had.
I used to refer to this recipe as bahn mi sandwich, but then I learned that I had it all wrong. My daughter’s best friend is Vietnamese and she told us that saying banh mi sandwich is like saying sandwich sandwich or maybe bread sandwich. I had no idea!
So what is a banh mi? Bahn mi is a sandwich that originated in Vietnam, following the introduction of French bread by the French colonists. If you’re interested, find out more about the history of banh mi, particularly in the US.
The best parts about this Instant Pot banh mi are the explosion of flavors (sweet, sour, spicy, salty, savory) and different textures (crispy, crunchy, chewy, airy). Bahn mi is made from toasted baguette, pâté, mayonnaise, pickled daikon radish and carrots, sliced green chili peppers, cilantro leaves, Maggi sauce, and pork.
These ingredients contribute contrasting flavors and textures, that when put together, make for an awesome sandwich.
This Vietnamese Instant Pot recipe is adapted from a pork banh mi recipe that I make on the stovetop or grill. I adapted it for the Instant Pot by using a different cut of meat, shredding the meat and increasing the spices. I also provide the stovetop/grilled original version of the Vietnamese sub recipe.
Tips and Substitutions
There are different toppings you can add to the banh mi. Pickled daikon and carrot is a popular topping.
Daikon is an Asian radish and is usually available at regular grocery stores, but you’ll definitely find it in an Asian grocery store. (Warning: it’s got a very strong smell, especially if you store the pickle in a bottle!)
If you can’t find it, omit it. But it’s yet another ingredient that when combined with all the others, really enhances the flavor. I’ve provided a recipe for pickled daikon radish and carrots – it’s really simple to make.
Pâté (pronounced ‘pah-tay’) is a meat spread that can be kind of expensive and/or may not be available to you. If your pâté is not spreadable, slice it thinly. If you don’t want to use pâté, substitute a slice of ham. But you will be missing the rich flavor of the pâté.
Bread / Baguette
Try to find a light crusty baguette – avoid a dense, chewy bread. If you have a Vietnamese bakery near you, all the better! Bolillo rolls, Cubano rolls, or hoagie rolls also work. And don’t skip toasting the bread; I find that the banh mi is so much more flavorful with a toasted baguette.
Maggi sauce is a soy-based sauce that’s made with different recipes depending on the country it’s sold in. You can find many of them on amazon. It’s one of the ingredients in an authentic, traditional banh mi. A few drops of Maggi sauce in the banh mi, when you’re assembling it, adds a lot of flavor.
You can find Maggi sauce in Latin or Asian grocery stores. I use the Latin version. Read more about this sauce in Andrea Nguyen’s primer on Maggi sauce.
If I don’t have any on hand, I use Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce, which is a Thai sauce I use in noodle dishes.
Banh Mi Pork Cuts
If you’re making this recipe on the stovetop, you can use pork tenderloin and slice it thin. Additionally you can use a mallet to pound the pork thin.
If you’re making this recipe in the Instant Pot, it’s best to use a fattier and tougher cut of meat because they cook superbly in the Instant Pot. I like to use pork shoulder.
Boneless country-style ribs come from the same cut and also work well. Since they’re cut into smaller portions, you can reduce the pressure cook time to 30 minutes.
If you don’t eat pork, substitute bone-in chicken thighs and pressure cook them for 14 minutes with a natural release (NPR). Remove the bones and proceed with the recipe. If using boneless chicken thighs, pressure cook for 11 minutes.
This recipe was made in a 6 quart Instant Pot Ultra and I have had no sealing issues or burn errors. If your Instant Pot is prone to getting the Burn Message, you can try and add an extra 1/4 cup of broth.
[Read More: Instant Pot Burn Message]
If you’re new to the Instant Pot and aren’t familiar with how to use it, you might find it helpful to first read one of the following guides and then come back here to learn how to make this recipe.
- Instant Pot DUO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot ULTRA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO EVO PLUS Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO NOVA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO GOURMET Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO CRISP Beginner’s Manual
Instant Pot Banh Mi Ingredients
- Lime juice
- Fish sauce
- Pork shoulder
- Black pepper
- Chinese five spice powder
- Pickled carrot and daikon
- Maggi sauce
- Green chili
More details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post
How to Make Banh Mi in the Instant Pot (Step by Step Instructions)
- Combine pork and sauce for banh mi
- Pressure cook.
- Release pressure.
- Saute the meat.
- Prepare the baguette.
- Layer the meat and toppings.
Combine Pork and Sauce for Banh Mi
- In a small bowl, stir together lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, black pepper, Chinese five-spice powder, and sugar.
- Place pork in inner pot, pour marinade over meat and turn to coat.
Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cook 90 minutes
- Close the lid and make sure the steam release handle is in the Sealing position.
- Press Manual (or Pressure Cook) and + or – until the display reads 90 (90 minutes).
Instant Pot Ultra Pressure Cook 1 hour 30 minutes
- Close the lid.
- Select Pressure Cook mode and adjust the time to 1 hour and 30 minutes (01:30).
- Press Start.
Pressure Cooking Process (Duo and Ultra)
- Instant Pot display will change to On.
- Once the Instant Pot is pressurized, the float valve will go up.
- The display will count down to 0; it will then switch to Keep Warm mode and display L0:00 or 00 00 and begin to count up the number of minutes since pressure cooking completed.
How to Naturally Release Pressure (NPR) on the DUO and ULTRA
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR). The float valve will be in the down position. This may take 15 to 30 minutes. [Find out more about the pressure release methods and how and when to use them. ]
- Press Cancel and open the Instant Pot.
Saute the Meat
- Transfer the pork from the Instant Pot to a large bowl.
- Reserve the cooking liquid.
- Shred the meat using a meat shredder or two forks, removing any visible fat.
- Heat a large frying pan on the stovetop, add 1 Tbsp oil and allow to heat up.
- Spread out two cups of meat in the pan and saute till nicely browned on one side.
- Add cooking liquid (1 to 2 teaspoons at a time) to moisten the meat and deglaze the pan, up to 2 tablespoons total. (Taste as you go to make sure the meat doesn’t get too salty, since the liquid is being reduced and flavor is being concentrated.)
Prepare the Baguette
- Cut a 6-inch piece of baguette in half lengthwise.
- Spread butter on the inside of both halves.
- Toast the bread on both sides on a griddle or in the oven.
- Spread a generous quantity of Sriracha mayo or plain mayo on one half of the baguette.
Layer the Meat and Toppings
- Spread a generous quantity of pâté on the other half.
- Layer pork, pickled daikon and carrots on the bottom half.
- Drizzle a few drops of Maggi sauce, to taste. I sometimes substitute Golden Mountain seasoning sauce, which is a fabulous Thai sauce that I use on noodles.
- Layer cilantro and sliced jalapenos on top.
- Top with the other half of the baguette and serve immediately.
Stovetop Directions for Banh Mi
To make this recipe on the stovetop:
[Note: to make this recipe on the stovetop, I use 1.5 to 2 lbs pork tenderloin or pork chops. I don’t use pork shoulder because it requires a longer cook time since the meat is tougher. Cut the meat into thin slices and/or pound the pieces using a meat mallet to thin them out.]
- Marinate the pork in the sauce for 2 to 4 hours or overnight, if possible.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan or grill pan over high heat.
- Add the pork slices to the frying pan in an even layer, and let the meat sear on both sides till cooked through.
- Assemble the sandwich.
See the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Instant Pot Banh Mi | Vietnamese Sandwich
Instant Pot Instructions
- In a large bowl, mix lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, black pepper, Chinese 5-spice powder, and sugar.
- Place pork shoulder in Instant Pot and pour sauce over meat and turn to coat.
- Close the lid and pressure cook for 60 minutes at High Pressure.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR) and open the lid. [Read More: The Different Pressure Release Methods.]
- Transfer the pork from the Instant Pot to a large bowl and reserve the cooking liquid.
- Shred the meat using two forks or a meat shredder and remove any visible fat.
- Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, on the stovetop. Add oil to the frying pan and let it heat up.
- Spread two cups of meat in the pan and saute until browned and caramelized on one side. Add cooking liquid (1 to 2 teaspoons at a time) to moisten the meat and deglaze the pan, up to 2 tablespoons total. Let the liquid get incorporated into the meat. (Taste as you go to make sure the meat doesn't get too salty.)
- Slice the pork tenderloin into thin (1/4 inch) slices. Optionally, pound the meat with a meat mallet to thin out.
- In a large bowl, mix lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, black pepper, Chinese 5-spice powder, and sugar. Marinate the pork in the banh mi sauce for 2 to 4 hours or overnight.
- Heat a large nonstick frying pan or grill pan over high heat.
- Add oil and let it heat up. Remove the pork from the marinade.
- Add the pork slices to the frying pan in an even layer, and let the meat sear on both sides till cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Deglaze with a couple of tablespoons of the marinade if the meat starts to burn. To avoid overcrowding the meat, sear the meat in batches.
Assemble the Sandwich
- Cut a 6-inch piece of baguette in half lengthwise.
- Spread butter on the inside of both halves.
- Toast the bread on both sides on a griddle or in the oven on a tray.
- Generously spread mayo on one half of the baguette.
- Generously spread pâté on the other half.
- Layer pork, pickled daikon and carrots, a few drops of Maggi sauce, cucumber slices (if using), cilantro, and sliced jalapenos on the bottom half.
- Top with the other half of the baguette and serve the banh mi immediately.
- Prep time does not include steps that are already accounted for in the ingredient list, e.g. minced garlic, cut vegetables, etc.
- Bread should not be hard and chewy, but light and airy
- If you’re making a larger quantity of pork shoulder, cut it into 2 or 3 pieces
- Nutrition information is for cooking pork shoulder in the Instant Pot.
- NOTE: Some recent Instant Pots are getting the Food Burn or Burn error messages with this recipe. You may need to add 1/4 broth (plus some additional fish sauce, lime juice, and spices to avoid dilution of flavor) if your Instant Pot is prone to getting these messages.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
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I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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