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Pork Belly Bao Buns

Also known as gua bao, these soft and airy Chinese buns are stuffed with rich and succulent braised pork belly, pickled carrots and veggies for a show-stopping appetizer that's bursting with flavor. 

Pork Belly Bao Buns

Difficulty: Moderate
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Serves: Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

For the pork belly: 

1 T

Sesame Oil 

2 lbs. 

Pork Belly, rindless, cut into 1" cubes
1" knob Ginger, grated
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Shallot, minced
2 T White Wine
1 T Tamari
1/2 T  Fish Sauce
2 T  Brown Sugar
1 T  Seoul Train Sesame Citrus
1 1/2 - 2 cups Water
For the slurry: 
1/4 cup White Wine
1/4 cup Orange Juice
2 tsp Rice Vinegar
2 tsp Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Seoul Train Sesame Citrus
For the bao bun: 
370 g Bread Flour
1 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast
2 T Sugar
1 T  Seoul Train Sesame Citrus
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Warm Water
1 T  Vegetable Oil 
Garnish: 
Pickled Carrot
1 T Scallions, chopped
1 T  Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Sesame Seeds

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.

  2. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork belly, stirring from time to time, and cook for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Add ginger, garlic, and shallots and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant.

  3. Add wine, tamari, fish sauce, brown sugar, and Seoul Train and add just enough water to cover the pork belly. Stir well. Cover pot and place in oven for 2 hours, or until pork is fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pork to another pan, then strain all but 1 cup of rendered fat/jus.

  5. Return jus to simmer, then whisk together slurry and slowly add to jus, whisking constantly. Once thickened, turn off heat, and gently stir in pork belly. Set aside for assembly.

  6. Once pork is in the oven, make the bao buns: Measure the dry ingredients into a stand mixing bowl, then add the warm water and oil. Use the dough hook attachment and knead dough on low speed for 10 minutes.

  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand an additional minute, then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to proof in a warm area for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough has risen to double in size.

  8. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface punch it down and knead it by hand for 1 minute to release any air bubbles in the dough, then roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Brush oil onto dough, then use a 2 ½ ” round biscuit cutter or glass to cut out dough rounds.

  9. Fold over each round and use a rolling pin to gently flatten the dough to form the bun shape. Transfer to parchment square, or greased paper cupcake wrapper.

  10. Place all of the shaped buns onto a large tray, cover with a flour sack towel, and proof in a warm place for about 30 minutes for the buns to rise again, and slightly puff up.

  11. Prepare the steamer on the stove, then steam the buns in batches for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are puffy and soft, and cooked all the way through.

  12. To assemble, lay steamed bao buns on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Layer with braised pork belly, pickled carrot, scallions, cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds. Skewer with bamboo pick, then transfer to a platter and serve.
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