Vietnamese Shrimp Po’Boys
About the recipe
Because of the French colonization of Vietnam, ingredients like baguettes, butter and mayonnaise are commonplace in Vietnamese cooking. Never is this more evident than the classic banh mi, where cooked protein, pickled vegetables and a creamy spread—either paté or mayonnaise—come together to form a sandwich that balances richness, heat and acidity.
Even today, largely thanks to the shrimping industry, New Orleans is home to a rather large Vietnamese population. This sandwich combines the bright flavors of the banh mi with the hot, crispy seafood of a Louisiana shrimp po’boy.
Hands On Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 0 minutes
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 whole cloves
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick-sized pieces
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-inch) soft, crusty French rolls or 1 baguette, cut into fourths, halved, buttered and toasted
1 cup mayonnaise
1 English cucumber, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
To make the pickled carrots: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, sugar, vinegar, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds and cloves. Simmer until sugar and salt dissolve, 5 minutes. Place carrots in a medium bowl and strain pickling liquid through a mesh strainer over the carrots. Cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To make the po’boys: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, begin heating 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat. Alternatively, heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer following the manufacturer’s directions. Line a large plate with paper towels.
While the oil is heating, combine the shrimp and half and half in a large bowl. In a second large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, Old Bay and pepper.
Remove the shrimp from the half and half, shaking off excess, and place in the bowl with the flour mixture. Toss to coat thoroughly.
When the oil is hot, remove one third of the shrimp from the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, and carefully to the hot oil. Fry until the shrimp are crisp and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a wire strainer or slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the oil and transfer to the prepared plate. Repeat with the remaining shrimp in two more batches.
To assemble the po’boys, split the rolls in half and spread both sides with mayonnaise. Add pickled carrots, cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro to one half of the bread, then top with the shrimp. Serve hot.