Slow Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Image & Recipe from Skinnytaste
About few weeks ago I was feeling very stale in the kitchen, so snagged five recipes from friends, internet searches and social media to try.  A few were standouts, some were average but good, and at least one I probably won't make again.  

Trying new recipes can push you out of your comfort zone as well as get you to try new flavour combinations. Such is the case with this recipe from Gina Homolka on her website Skinnytaste.  It was supposed to be made a week ago, but I somehow never got around to it. So finally pulled it out today to try.

I have heard of Banh Mi sandwiches. Traditionally this Vietnamese specialty is a fusion of meats and vegetables from native Vietnamese cuisine such as chả lụa (pork sausage), coriander leaf (cilantro), cucumber, pickled carrots, and pickled daikon, combined with condiments from French cuisine such as pâté, along with chili and mayonnaise. 

When I stumbled across this version on a site called Skinny Taste I was curious.  The meat is done in the crockpot which I love. There are some pickled carrots and radish, and some sliced vegetables.  No pate or chili and mayonnaise.  And she turned it into a rice bowl instead of the traditional sandwich. HMMM.

In the end I liked it. The meat in particular was really tasty.  Whether I like it better as a rice bowl or not, I haven't decided.  I may try it next time as a sandwich.  Who knows?  But for now here is the recipe as it was created which makes a tasty and unusual one dish meal for 4. I did put the jalapenos in the crockpot with the meat and it wasn't too spicy. But I skipped the fresh jalapeno slices on the rice bowl itself. 

Enjoy!

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Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls
Serves 4

Ingredients -

For the pork:
1 pound pork tenderloin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 jalapeno (sliced)
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce*
1 tablespoon brown sugar

For the pickled carrot:
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup shredded carrots
2 radishes (cut into matchsticks)

For the bowls:
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced English cucumbers (about ½ small)
1 small jalapeno (thinly sliced)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Instructions -

Season the pork with salt and pepper and place into the slow cooker. Combine the garlic, jalapeno, soy sauce and brown sugar and stir to dissolve, pour over the pork.(NOTE: If your slow cooker runs hot, add 1/4 cup water). Cover and cook on low for 6 hours until the pork is very tender, turning once half way through if desired. When the pork is ready, shred the meat. Reserve the sauce. 

Meanwhile, while the pork is cooking, make the pickled carrots and radish: In a medium glass bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Add the carrots and radish and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Drain well and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the bowls, place 3/4 cup rice in each bowl, top each with about 2 1/2 oz pork, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce then top with the 1/4 cup shredded cabbage, 1/4 cup pickled carrots, 1/4 cup cucumber, sliced jalapenos and cilantro.

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