Slow Cooker Banh Mi Pork Tenderloin with Asian Pickled Vegetables and Pickled Red Onions

Sunday October 30, 2016

Bánh Mì are Vietnamese meat and salad sandwiches layered with sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. They typically come packed in a French baguette with savory pork, pickled condiments and fresh vegetables, and a creamy hot sauce laced mayonnaise spread on the bread. They are one of our favorite sandwiches ever. Here is a bánh mì-style lean pork tenderloin using the slow cooker. The meat is cooked with jalapeno, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and caramel-flavored dark brown sugar. When cooked in the slow cooker, its like being marinated and cooked at the same time and gives the meat a deep, rich flavor. From there, you can serve it up however you like. We offer some DIY pickled vegetables here, but you can substitute just grated fresh carrots, sliced cucumbers and red radishes, and cilantro if you are in a rush. But don’t skip the Sriracha mayonnaise to moisten the bread; it gives the little special kick. The pickled red onions are also good on burgers, pulled pork, Mexican food, or in salads. In Vietnam, the French bread is made with a portion of rice flour with a crisp crust and tender light center. In the USA, use a fresh skinny baguette, Ciabatta roll, or toasted gluten-free long roll.

Recommended Size: Large Round, Rectangular, or Oval

Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 6 to 7 hours

Serves 6


1/2 cup chicken broth

1 jalapeno, diced

1 thick slice fresh ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

Juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce (sambal oelek)

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin (2 strips)

Building the Sandwich

1 loaf sweet French baguette (sliced thin or in sections cut horizontally into a top and bottom) or 6 Ciabatta bread sandwich rolls, sliced in half or gluten-free long rolls

Red leaf lettuce and/or Arugula

1 cup thin sliced cucumber

Sliced pickled jalapeno chili peppers

1 cup cilantro leaves

Asian Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Red Onions

Sriracha Mayonnaise

Pickled Asian Vegetables (Do Chua)

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar or brown rice vinegar

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 medium carrots, peeled then sliced on the diagonal and julienned or cut into thin match-like strips

1 medium (3/4-pound) daikon radish, peeled and cut like the carrots

1 bunch large red radishes, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon fine-grained pickling salt, fine sea salt, or kosher salt (not Morton’s which contains anti-caking)

Pickled Red Onions

1 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons fine-grained pickling salt, fine sea salt, or kosher salt (not Morton’s which contains anti-caking)

2 large red onions, thinly sliced

Sriracha Mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise or Veganaise

3 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce,or to taste


In a small bowl, combine the broth, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice, chili sauce, and brown sugar. Spray the crock with nonstick cooking spray. Add the tenderloins to the crock and pour over the cooking sauce. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours, until tender.

While meat is cooking, make the Pickled Asian Vegetables. Heat vinegar, water, and sugar in the microwave or a saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, add soy sauce, and refrigerate to cool. Place carrot, daikon and radish slices in a small bowl. Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over, submerging the vegetables. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight. Can be made the day ahead. Keeps 3 days in the refrigerator in its marinating liquid. Makes about 1 quart.

diakon and carrot pickles/ photo courtesy of viet world kitchen

Make the Pickled Red Onions. In a small mixing bowl, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt; stir to dissolve the sugar. You can warm this a bit in the microwave. Place the onions in a medium mixing bowl. Cover with boiling water for 1 minute. This will take the raw edge off. Drain in a colander. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onion. Let stand on the counter for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving, or cover and refrigerate. Pickled onions keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator in its marinating liquid. Can be made the day before. Makes about 2 cups.

Make the Sriracha Mayonnaise. In a small bowl or refrigerator container, stir together the mayonnaise and hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the sandwiches. Can be made the day before.

Remove the tenderloin to a cutting board and slice thin. Return to the crock liquid on KEEP WARM until making the sandwiches. To assemble the sandwiches, slice the baguette or rolls and spread the sriracha mayo on both cut sides. Layer the lettuce or arugula, cucumber, a few slices of pork, pickled vegetables, pickled onion, and cilantro. Replace the top of the bread and serve with some napkins and a cold drink like iced tea, beer, or lemonade to wash it down.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Revised Edition, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann (c) 2016, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

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