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PORK BELLY BAO BUNS

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pork belly
  • 1 carton chicken stock (I used College Inn)
  • 4 garlic cloves (smashed or cut in half)
  • 3 small pieces of fresh ginger (no need to peel)
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 TBLS Sushi Chef Rice Vinegar
  • 1 TBLS caster sugar
  • bao buns (I used JayOne brand)
  • pickled red onions (recipe below)
  • fresh jalapeno (sliced thin)
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • jicama (matchsticks)
  • Sriracha may (click here for recipe)
  • long toothpicks
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I have a confession to make…I am in love with pork belly! I created a recipe a few months ago for Crispy Pork Belly…and it was amazing! I knew, however, that preparation would not work in a bao bun…how did I know this…well..to be honest…I messed it up last week trying to make pork belly with a new spice blend…did not work so well…do NOT ever put the spice on the pork belly and bake in the oven…NOT a great idea. That mistake actually led me to creating this recipe for Pork Belly Bao Buns.

I knew I had to cook the pork belly first then add the incredible sauce…but I also knew it would be imperative to season the pork while it was cooking and tenderizing…I could have eaten it right out of the simmering pot…so you can just imagine how it tasted once it was glazed.

Local to Charlotte? Head on over to The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. and grab a few bao buns…at least two person…and a package of pork belly and let’s get our Asian cooking on! This recipe will make six generous servings!

For the glaze:

Pickled red onions:

  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 C hot water
  • 1/2 C white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar

Pickle your onions first. Slice the red onion as thin as you can. Place in a glass jar or bowl with a lid. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour over onions…give a little stir. Place lid and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes or so.

Cut your pork belly in half and then in slices…I sliced mine just a bit thicker than thick-cut bacon…about 2 inches long. In a heavy bottom pot…I used an enameled cast iron pot…combine all of the ingredients for the pork belly…NOT for the glaze.

Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and allow to simmer, with lid on, for about an hour or so. Test a piece about 45 minutes in to see if it is tender. You would think by cutting the pork belly into strip, it would dry out or even be tasteless during the simmering stage…NOT the case at all…the flavoring of the broth seeps inside the belly…truly amazing!

Remove pork belly from broth when tender and reserve on a plate. In a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients for the glaze.

Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a cast iron pan (non-stick pan will work also). Add the pork belly slices and brown on both sides.

Pour in the glaze and cook until it thickens and coats the pork belly…should only take a few minutes! You want the sauce to be sticky, but still a little saucy…if that makes any sense?

To assemble…there was no way in hell I was making my own bao buns…feel free to if you wish, or do what I did and head on over to the market or you can pick up at any local Asian market. I would suggest just tossing them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften or you can steam them in a bamboo steamier for a minute or so. I used these!

Lay at least three pieces of the pork belly on the bottom of the bun. Add in a few strips of the jicama, a few jalapeno slices, some pickled red onion and fresh cilantro. Top with either a dollop or a few squeezes of the Sriracha mayo. Secure with long toothpicks. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Also, feel free to add any of your own favorite toppings…get creative!

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