Steamed pork belly buns

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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.

Steamed pork belly buns

Recipe is as follows:

To make the pork belly filling:

  1. 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.
  2. Soak a small amount of mung bean vermicelli in hot water; once soft, sliced into small pieces.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5.  Let the dough rest until it rises to at least double the volume; collapse it and let it rise again.
  6. Roll the dough in a long snake; cut out the desired portions; I use about approx. 50g for each buns.
  7. To make the buns – refer to the video below.
  8. Place the buns on individual baking paper, let them rest for further 30 minutes; the dough will rise again.
  9.  Steam the buns (on individual baking paper) in a steamer, approx 15-20 minutes
  10. Once cooked, turn off the heat and don’t open the lid for at lease 10 minutes (otherwise the buns may ‘collapse’).

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