Sticky pork belly bao buns
- Preparation and cooking time
- More effort
- makes 10
These soft Chinese bao buns are stuffed to bursting with spicy pork and topped with crushed chilli peanuts
For the pork
For the buns
For the crushed chilli peanuts
- handful roasted peanuts
- 1 tsp togarashi spice mix (see tip below)
- coriander leaves
- cucumber batons
- shredded spring onion
- STEP 1
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. In batches, brown the pork belly well, then transfer to a plate. Tip the sugar into the dish and cook over a medium heat until starting to dissolve and caramelise, then quickly stir in the garlic, ginger and star anise, and cook for 1 min.
- STEP 2
Carefully pour in the rice wine and soy sauce – watch out, it will spatter – and simmer to dissolve the sugar. Stir the pork into the caramel to coat, then add 100ml water and the five-spice, and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 1 hr 30 mins. Remove from the oven, uncover, put on a high heat to simmer and reduce the sauce until sticky. Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and chilled. Reheat with a splash of water.
- STEP 3
To make the chilli peanuts, mash most of the peanuts using a pestle and mortar, then add the rest of the nuts and roughly crush for a chunky texture. Stir through the togarashi powder. Can be made 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container.
- STEP 4
For the buns, tip the dry ingredients and a large pinch of salt into a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour in the milk, oil and 100ml tepid water, and work the mixture for about 10 mins until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size (for about 1 hr)
- STEP 5
Tip the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a sausage shape. Cut the sausage into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a bun, then use a rolling pin to roll each bun out into an oval. Lightly grease each one, then fold them over a greased chopstick or skewer and place on a lightly oiled baking tray to rest for 1 hr or until doubled in size. Remove the chopstick or skewer before steaming.
- STEP 6
Heat a steamer and steam the buns on circles of baking parchment in batches for about 10 mins until puffed up. Split the buns and stuff each one with a slice or two of the pork, drizzled with some of the sauce. Scatter over some coriander, cucumber and spring onions, then sprinkle with the crushed nuts and tuck in.
Togarashi is a Japanese seven-spice mix which includes ground chillies, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and citrus peel. You can buy it in Asian food shops or online from souschef.co.uk, seasonedpioneers.com or amazon.co.uk.