Soft steamed buns filled with spicy Sichuan-style braised pork belly
4servings (makes 8 buns)
4servings (makes 8 buns)
Carrot and Daikon Pickle
3/4 teaspoonfine sea salt
Pork Belly Buns
1kilogramboneless pork belly(sliced into thick pieces to fit into buns)
100gramsspring onions(cut into short lengths, about 5 spring onions)
30gramsgarlic(about 6 cloves, peeled but left whole)
20gramsginger(a thumb-sized piece, sliced into thick rings)
1tablespoonChilli Bean Paste/ Doubanjiang
1cinnamon stick(a three-inch piece)
2tablespoonsshaoxing rice wine
1tablespoonlight soy sauce
1teaspoondark soy sauce
To Serve and Garnish
8gua bao buns/ chinese steamed buns(store bought)
1handfulcoriander leaves(roughly chopped)
2tablespoonsunsalted roasted peanuts(chopped)
To make the carrot and daikon pickle
Cut the carrot and daikon into thin matchsticks. Mix the sugar, vinegar and salt together and stir until the sugar and sugar have dissolved.
Put the carrot and daikon into a jar with a lid that will fit all the veg comfortably. Pour over the pickling liquid and leave for at least a couple of hours to mature, shaking occasionally to mix. After this point it can be used, but for best results leave overnight to fully pickle.
To braise the pork belly
In a large cast iron pot or similar, heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil over medium high heat, then brown the pork belly pieces in batches, and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, and add the spring onion, ginger, garlic, chilli bean paste and spices and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add the soy sauces, rice wine, sugar and water. Stir well then return the pork to the pot.
Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to a simmer, cooking for 2 hours or until the pork quite tender. Stir every 20 – 30 minutes so nothing sticks.
Once the pork is done, remove the pork slices to a plate, scraping off any excess spices that may be stuck to the meat. Carefully strain the cooking liquid into a jug, then return it to the pot and turn the heat up to medium to reduce the liquid. Continue to reduce for about 5 – 10 minutes, or until the liquid is thick and syrupy – it should still be quite liquid, but thick enough to easily coat the pork. Pour the reduced sauce over the pork and prepare to start assembling the buns.
To assemble and serve
Steam the buns as per the package instructions.
To assemble, smear about a teaspoon of hoisin sauce over the bottom of each bun, then lay a slice or two (depending on the size) of the pork on each bun. Top the pork with a little spring onion, chopped coriander, the carrot and daikon pickle and some chopped peanuts.