While others made hot cross buns for Easter, I made hot pork belly buns.
Growing up as a Cantonese in the early 70s, a hot pork bun for breakfast was a special treat. From the street vendors’ carts, heavenly steam lingering in the cool morning air. I vividly remember that the pork buns were 13 cents each. My breakfast allowance was limited to a single pork bun. After a brief indulgence, I was hungry for the rest of the morning in school.
Today, I made 2 dozens of buns with juicy fatty pork belly and sweat leek. I am going to eat to my heart’s content.
Recipe is as follows:
To make the pork belly filling:
- Brown some sliced pork belly in a heavy base sauce pan, add some leek, finely sliced ginger, oyster sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, a dash of port wine and a little water; close the lid and simmer for an hour.
- Soak a small amount of mung bean vermicelli in hot water; once soft, sliced into small pieces.
- Put the pork and vermicelli in a food processor, blend briefly (about 5 seconds) to form a ‘textured’ filling (not a paste).
To make the dough:
- Use low gluten flour, which you can buy from well-stocked Asian grocery stores. The package I used came with a small pack of yeast.
- Ingredients: for 4 cup of flour, use 1.5 tsp of yeast (please check your yeast’s instruction), 1.5 tsp of baking powder, 1/4 cup of condense milk, and approx 1 & 3/4 cup of water (including the water used to activate the yeast).
- Put yeast in a glass, filled with 1/4 cup of warm water, add a little sugar; Wait for yeast to be activated, approx 15 minutes (depending on room temperature).
- Knead the dough: I use a stand mixer with a bread hook, approx 10 minutes. I add all the ingredients and some of the water, then add the remaining the water gradually during kneading.
- Let the dough rest until it rises to at least double the volume; collapse it and let it rise again.
- Roll the dough in a long snake; cut out the desired portions; I use about approx. 50g for each buns.
- To make the buns – refer to the video below.
- Place the buns on individual baking paper, let them rest for further 30 minutes; the dough will rise again.
- Steam the buns (on individual baking paper) in a steamer, approx 15-20 minutes
- Once cooked, turn off the heat and don’t open the lid for at lease 10 minutes (otherwise the buns may ‘collapse’).