HOW TO MAKE TAIWANESE PORK BELLY BUNS
I don't know about you, but there are just some dishes, I assume to be impossible. Whether it's due to the unknown methods or unrecognizable ingredients required, I often find myself hesitant to attempt these wildly delicious yet foreign dishes. Now now, trust me when I say that this hasn't stopped me in the past, I have just had my fair share of dishes resulting in a big ole "Yeah that was okay" and a whole handful of "well, I tried"... You feel me? I know y'all hear me when I say there is nothing more frustrating than attempting to make something new and delicious, tracking down the speciality ingredients, punching out the hours in the kitchen only to come out with something exceptionally average... Literally the worst. SO on that note, let's talk about BAO. BUT STAY WITH ME PEOPLE. I REPEAT, PORK BELLY BAO IS SO DOABLE.
Now on top of assuming this delicious dish would be exceptionally difficult, I also assumed that there was no way I could make it as good as they do in Taiwan (or any other Asian fusion restaurant for that matter), but let me get to the point before I ramble on too long. This bao recipe is anything but a flop. Having been shown the ropes by some of my darling friends, I'm VERY pleased to say that this recipe turned out to be some of the BEST pork belly bao I've had... And once you get you're hands on a few speciality ingredients, it really is quite simple!
BBQ Pork Belly Ingredients:
1 LB Pork Belly (soaked in the fridge overnight in 1 L cold water & 4 Tbs Chinese wellow wine or white rice wine)
1L Cold Water (approximately)
8 Slices of Ginger
1/2 Tsp Sichuan Peppers
2-3 Dried Chillis
55g Rock Sugar
3 Star Anise
1 Bay Leaf
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Tbs Dark Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Chinese Yellow Wine (or White Rice WIne)
Pork Belly Directions:
1. Soak Pork Belly overnight (12-16 hours preferably) in 1 L of water (or enough to cover) and 4 Tbs Chinese yellow wine. Soaking the pork belly helps to eliminate the strong pork smell.
2. After soaking, slice the pork belly into half inch slices and place in a medium to large pot. Add peeled ginger slices, cover with water and bring to a boil. Once boiled, drain and rinse the pork (keep the ginger).
3. In a wok or large frying pan place vegetable oil (enough for pan frying) dried chillies, Sichuan peppers and pork belly (including the ginger). Fry pork till golden brown on both sides.
4. In a separate pot (large enough for braising), melt rock sugar in 1 tbs of vegetable oil and cook till caramelized and bubbly.
5. Place pork belly in caramel pot and ensure all the pork is fully coated in the caramel. Add 3 star anise, 1 bay leaf, and 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Cover pork belly with water (approx 900ml) and add 2 Tbs of dark soy sauce and 1 Tbs Chinese yellow wine. Bring pot to a boil, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours.
6. Once pork is tender, remove lid and reduce remaining liquid till pork is sticky and coated.
Bun & Topping Ingredients:
1 Cup Caster Sugar
1 Cup Roasted Skinless Peanuts
1 Package Fresh or Frozen Chinese-Style steamed buns
1. In a food processor or high-speed blender, place peanuts and caster sugar. Grind into a powder.
2. Slice cucumber and pick cilantro leaves.
3. Before serving, steam buns. Place in Steamer (approx 5 min) or microwave (30 seconds) till warm and soft.
4. Fill steamed buns with pork belly, cucumber, coriander and top with peanut powder and enjoy.