Portion/Yield:Makes about 25 pork buns
This recipe is inspired by David Chang’s cookbook Momofuku. These steamed pork buns are incredibly addictive but I find them filling enough hat two is plenty for me, ok three at a push. I have cooked the pork belly using the sous-vide method and refer to one of my previous recipes. The pickles are quick and easy. Have fun with this recipe, it is a great dish to present when you have friends around for diner. Everyone can help themselves and assemble their own buns whilst chatting and having a good time.
Ingredients & Method
For the pork
- 1kg pork belly
- 2tbs clear runny honey
- 40ml soy sauce
- 40ml port or red wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2bay leaves
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
For the Steamed Buns
- 375g strong bread flour
- 20g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast (do not use fast action yeast)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 40g vegetable suet, grounded
- 1 tablespoon full fat milk powder
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 200ml water
Quick Salted Cucumber and Radish Pickles
- 1 English cucumber
- 12 breakfast radishes
- 8tsp caster sugar
- 2tsp table salt
- 1tbs olive oil
- 125ml hoisin sauce
- 3 spring onions, washed and sliced finely on a angle
First prepare and cook the pork, heat the water bath to 83°C. Prepare the pork belly, cut it into 6 x 7cm x 7cm pieces. Stir the rest of the ingredients together to make the marinade. Place the belly of pork into vacuum bag and add the marinade, I seal on hard vacuum. Cook in the preheated water bath for 8 hours.
For the steamed buns, weigh the flour, fresh yeast, suet, baking powder, powdered milk and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of a mixer, with your fingertips rub the fresh yeast into the flour until it’s evenly distributed and resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the salt and sugar and attach the dough hook, mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then while the machine is running on low speed slowly add the water. Mix with the dough hook for 5 minutes until the dough come together in a smooth and velvety ball but not sticky, if the dough seems a bit dry at this stage add a extra dash of water and mix for a further 2 minutes. Lightly grease a mixing bowl and place the smooth dough ball in the bowl and lightly cover with a clean and dry tea towel. Leave to prove until double in size for about 1 hour, it was very cold when I made these buns and for that reason it took a while to prove.
Push the air out out and divide the dough into 4 equal shape logs and cut each log into 25g balls, roll the dough into smooth balls and place them on a lightly floured tray with adequate space form them to double in size, lightly cover with a clean and dry tea towel and leave to prove for about 30 minutes until double in size.
Place a large saucepan with water on the cooker, bring to the boil.
Grease a chopstick lightly with oil, on a lightly floured work surface roll each ball with a rolling pin to about 4″ oval shapes, place the greased chopstick in the middle and fold the dough bun over (as in the photo). It almost looks like a little pac-man, place the buns on individual grease proof squares back onto the tray, lightly cover with a clean and dry tea towel and leave to prove for about another 30 minutes until they are puffed up.
While the buns prove prepare the quick pickled cucumber and radish. Wash the cucumber and radishes. Use a mandolin to slice the cucumber into 2mm thick slices. Cut the radishes into quarter wedges. Mix the sugar and salt together. Mix the cucumber slices and radish wedges with the sugar and salt mixture, leave to cure for 10 minutes. Wash the pickles thoroughly under cold running water and leave them to drain in a colander for about 5 minutes, pat them dry with kitchen paper and toss them in the oil.
Place the puffed buns in a steamer basket with enough space between each to swell even further, place the steamer basket over the pan of rapid boiling water and steam the buns for 10 minutes.
While the buns are steaming preheat the grill, place the drained pork belly on a oven tray under the grill for 7 – 8 minutes, until the skin is crispy.
To serve the buns reheat them in the steamer for 3 – 4 minutes, make sure the pork belly is hot open each bun and spread hoisin sauce on both sides, arrange a selection of the pickles, pork and the spring onions, serve.
Make the buns a day in advance keep them refrigerated and re-heat them in the steamer for 3 – 4 minutes. Use the pickles within 4 hours, unfortunately they do not keep very well however refer to the book for two alternative pickling methods, they all sound delicious and interesting.