A staple snack in Taiwan, pork belly buns (or gua bao) are having a serious moment on menus across the UK. Pillowy-soft steamed buns packed with sweet sticky pork, hot sauce and fresh herbs, make these on-trend treats the ultimate comfort food.
For the pork, combine the hoisin sauce, garlic and ginger purée and the spring onions in a bowl. Add the pork belly and toss to coat. Preheat oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper.
Transfer the pork slices to the tray, reserving any leftover marinade. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Baste with the reserved marinade.
Preheat grill to high, then grill the meat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until starting to char. Transfer to a clean tray and brush the pork with the honey. Rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice and set aside.
For the buns, put the yeast, sugar, vinegar and 125ml (4fl oz) lukewarm water in a bowl. Stand for 5 minutes. Add the flour and on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 8–10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and put in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in size.
Remove from the bowl and divide into 8 balls. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into an oval that is 10cm in length. Fold over to form a semi-circle. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
Place the 8 semi-circles on 8 individual nonstick baking paper pieces, cut into 15cm by 15cm squares, and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Fill a wok one-third full with water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Place 3-4 buns, not touching, in a bamboo steamer over the wok. Alternatively, use a conventional steamer.
Steam, covered, for 12 minutes or until cooked through. Repeat with the remaining buns. Carefully open each bun and fill with the sliced pork, cucumber, coriander and spring onions. Drizzle generously with the sauce and serve warm.
For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.
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