These colorful Vietnamese-inspired 25 Minute Ginger Sesame Banh Mi Rice Bowls are full of fresh flavors and made so simply. The ground chicken, or pork, is cooked in a sweet soy chili sauce until caramelized around the edges. It’s then added to bowls of lemongrass rice. A fresh, bright, cucumber herb salad with chunks of avocado is spooned overtop along with quickly pickled carrots. There’s spicy mayo and extra sauce too. It’s a very yummy balance of spicy, sweet, and savory flavors. Altogether, these bowls are so delicious, plus quick to make.
If you’re not familiar with a Banh Mi sandwich, it’s a Vietnamese sandwich. It’s usually made with a baguette-style sub roll that’s layered with cripy pork or chicken. Then a spicy mayo is spread on top with pickled veggies, cucumbers, spicy chilies, and fresh herbs. It’s also traditional to add liver pate, but you’ll notice I left that out of these bowls. It’s not something I can easily find.
The flavors combined are fresh, with just the right amount of spiciness, and great umami flavors all around.
It’s such a yummy sandwich!
I’ve never made a traditional banh mi, they can sometimes be time intensive depending on the method used. But these bowls are the next best thing!
And so quick to make too, which we just love! These bowls aren’t traditional, but a nice, quick way to enjoy similar flavors.
The details on these bowls
To start, I do make my own lemongrass rice. It’s super simple but totally optional.
Lemongrass is such a star ingredient that’s so underused. When cooked, it has a subtle citrusy, lemony flavor with a bit of mintiness in there too.
It’s a very light refreshing flavor and I love cooking it into the rice. The lemongrass really compliments these bowls.
I cook the rice in coconut milk for a creamy, coconut flavor along with lemongrass paste and Thai jasmine rice. Simply let the rice steam while you prepare the bowls.
While that’s cooking away, I make the cucumber salad.
Lots of fresh herbs, I use a mix of cilantro and Thai basil. If you enjoy mint, add that too! Then, refreshing cucumber, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, a little spice from a serrano pepper, and a simple lime dressing.
Just toss everything together in a bowl, no fancy steps.
And now the meat. You can use chicken or pork, I usually do a mix of the two. Then a couple of shallots and garlic. Then add chili paste, tamari or soy, fish sauce, and maple syrup. Oh, plus some black pepper.
Now the KEY, pickled ginger. I added this at the last minute and it ended up being the most delicious addition. The picked ginger quickly caramelizes and becomes sweet and just addicting. You will love it.
Finish it up
Layer each bowl with lots of rice, then the meat, and any extra sauce. Top each bowl with the cucumber salad and spicy mayo.
Enjoy immediately…and that’s it! This takes less than 30 minutes to make and it’s delicious and fun! All those fresh herbs really make the difference.
Looking for other quick weeknight dinners? Here are some favorites:
Lastly, if you make these 25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls
Calories Per Serving: 530 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Cucumber Herb Salad
Banh Mi Meat
- 2 tablespoons sesame or olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken or ground pork
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup tamari
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1-3 tablespoons chili paste
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup shredded or pickled carrots
- 1/3 cup pickled ginger
- 3-4 cups cooked rice, for serving
- spicy mayo, for serving
- 1. To make the salad. Combine everything in a bowl and gently toss. Season with salt 2. To Make the meat. In a bowl, mix the tamari, fish sauce, chili paste, and maple syrup. Add 1/3 cup water. Set a few tablespoons of the sauce aside for serving, if desired. 3. Heat the oil, meat, shallots, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until browned, 5 minutes. Add the sauce. Cook another 5 minutes, until the meat is crispy. Add the pickled ginger, and let cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. 3. Spoon the meat over bowls of rice. Top with the herb salad, pickled carrots, and spicy mayo. Drizzle over the extra sauce. Enjoy!
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Pickled Carrots: In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Microwave 1 minute, then whisk. Add 2 cups julienned carrots and toss well. Let sit 15 minutes to 1 hour. You can also add thinly sliced ginger and or jalapeños. LEMONGRASS RICE: Add 1 can coconut milk and 1/3 water to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a low boil. Add in 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice and 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste. Stir to combine. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook 10 minutes on low and then turn the heat off completely. Let the rice sit on the stove, covered, for another 15-20 minutes (don’t take any peeks inside!).
2. After 15-20 minutes remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Note that rice can cook differently for everyone, this is just what works for me.