Bánh Mì Xíu Mại

Vietnamese Banh Mi Thit Xiu Mai

Bánh Mì refers to Vietnamese baguette. It’s a heritage from the French colonial period. This recipe is a simplified version for Bánh mì Xíu Mại with meatballs. The spice blend includes rare Vietnamese cinnamon. It’s not only sweet but a bit spicy as well.
hands-on time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 3


For the meatballs

  • 1 lb ground meat (pork veal, or poultry)
  • 1/2 lb jicama grated
  • 3 tomato/es chopped
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch

For the sauce

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • tomato paste
  • coconut or palm oil

For the pickles

  • 1 lb daikon and carrots mix 70:30
  • agave syrup or honey or sugar
  • rice wine vinegar or white vinegar

For serving

  • 2-4 Persian cucumber cut in thin strips
  • 1-2 baguette


  • tamari or soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • mayonnaise
  • some sprigs cilantro
  • jalapenos sliced

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Annatto, black pepper, Sichuan pepper (not recommended during pregnancy), fennel, Vietnamese cinnamon, star anise, and cloves


Cook jicama

  • In a small POT, bring water to boil and cook jicama for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.


  • Cut daikon and carrots into thin match-like strips or shred them.
  • Keep 2 tbsp cooked jicama aside and add remaining jicama to the daikon and carrots.
  • In a BOWL, add 1 cup water.
  • Add to taste: 2-4 tbsp syrup, vinegar, 1-2 tbsp salt.
  • Let rest in fridge 1-24 hours.

Fry garlic and onions

  • In a PAN, heat 1 tbsp sesame oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions. Fry over medium-low heat until the onions turn brown. Take them out and set aside to cool.

Prepare meatballs

  • In a BOWL, mix ground meat, 2 tbsp jicama, fried garlic and onions, tapioca starch, and salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Form meatballs. Use about 1 tbsp of the meat mixture for each meatball.

Steam meatballs

  • In a large POT, place a deep soup plate. Fill water around the plate up to half of the height of the plate. Place meatballs in the plate. Cover POT. Heat water and steam meatballs for 15 minutes.


  • In a PAN, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil. Add onions and Banh Mi Spices. Mix well.
  • Fry onions until they turn translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook over slow heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of water and stir in 1-2 tbsp tomato paste.
  • Season with tamari and fish sauce to taste.
  • Add steamed meatballs and the liquid from its plate.
  • Mix well and let cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring in between.

Assemble your Banh mi thit

  • Place meat in your baguette.
  • Add cucumber and pickles.
  • Spread mayonnaise on one half of the baguette (optional).
  • Top with cilantro leaves and/or sliced jalapenos (optional).
  • Enjoy!