Irresistible steamed buns
Tasty party food
The brilliant combo of these soft buns, sauces,
pickles and meat will blow you away
Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
Serves 4 Approx time: 390 Difficulty: showing off
For The Pork:
1.2 kg higher-welfare pork belly , bone out
For The Buns:
400 ml semi-skimmed milk
50 g unsalted butter, (at room temperature)
700 g good-quality Tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
1 heaped tablespoon caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For The Pickles:
1 bunch of radishes
2 teaspoons caster sugar
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 heaped tablespoon sesame seeds
4 spring onions
8 sprigs of fresh coriander
1 fresh red chilli
Recently, the popularity of crispy-pork-stuffed steamed buns has gone off the scale. They’re good value, really popular Korean street food, and the combination of these soft buns, sauces, pickles and pork will blow you away. I love to mix this recipe up by swapping the pork for crispy roasted duck (simply cooked at 180°C for 2 hours), or at Christmas, using roasted goose is amazing (simply cooked at 180°C for 4 hours). Have fun with it.
Start cooking the pork a day ahead. Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/gas 1. Carefully remove the pork skin from the belly (your butcher can do this for you) and pop into the fridge. In a large roasting tray, rub the belly with sesame oil and season with a good pinch of sea salt and sugar. Cover tightly with a double layer of tin foil and cook for 5 hours then remove, cool and refrigerate in the same tray overnight.
The next day, either by hand or in a free-standing electric mixer, combine all the bun ingredients with 1 level teaspoon of salt, then knead for 10 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and prove for 1 hour. Knock the dough back and divide into 20 equal pieces. Roll into smooth balls, place on a flour-dusted tray, cover with a damp tea towel and prove for another hour. One-by-one, with a rolling pin, roll the balls into 10cm x 12cm ovals. Lay an oiled chopstick across the middle like a hinge, fold the dough in half over the top and pull the chopstick out. Place each bun on a little rectangle of greaseproof paper in bamboo steamers, in single layers, ready for steaming later.
Preheat the oven to full whack (240°C/475°F/gas 9). For the garnish bowls, I like to make quick pickles by finely slicing the cucumbers and radishes on a mandolin (use the guard!) into separate bowls. Sprinkle each with ½ a teaspoon of salt (don’t worry – most will drain away), then divide the sugar and vinegar between them. Toss and pop into the fridge until needed. Lightly toast the sesame seeds and decant into another bowl. Trim the spring onions, then finely slice lengthways and pop into a bowl of ice- cold water so they curl up. Pick the coriander leaves. Finely slice the chilli. Place the pork skin on a tray, season and roast until puffy and crackled, keeping a close eye on it, then remove. Once cool, smash up.
When you’re ready to go, slice the pork 1cm thick, then halve each slice, return it in a single layer to the tray it was cooked in, and roast in the oven until golden, draining away the excess fat occasionally to help it crisp up. At the same time, steam the buns over a pan of simmering water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fluffy. Scrunch and squeeze the pickles to get rid of the excess salty liquid, then transfer to clean bowls. Take everything to the table with a bottle of hoisin and let everyone build their own.