Pork Belly Baos

Did you know that Pork belly is the source of the much-loved bacon most people love to eat in Western countries, but it has been a staple in Asian countries for centuries?

This is my version of the most delicious Pork Belly Baos you will ever experience. It is sweet, savory, and spicy and is a fusion of cultures: starting with the pork belly, a Vietnamese caramel braising sauce, Chinese steamed buns,  Korean pickled bamboo shoots, and Japanese pickles. This common street food is elevated by the combination of flavors or textures.Exceptional food takes time to prepare, especially certain cuts of eat and this recipe is no exception. There are no short cuts in producing slow-cooked pork belly, which is sliced and simmered in a sweet-savory caramel sauce and sandwiched between soft, pillowy steamed buns. But it doesn’t stop there – a hit of spice comes from fresh chilies, green onions, pickled bamboo shoots and Japanese pickles, that tops off this amazing sandwich.A perfect pick me up snack that reminds me of sliders, and they will definitely please a crowd every time you serve them.

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Makes 20 Baos

FOR THE PORK BELLY
1 slab pork belly (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chili pepper, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 275F. Wrap the pork belly in heavy tin foil. Place on baking sheet and roast for 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool before refrigerating at least 2 hour or up to 2 days.

2. Unwrap the pork belly, and slice into 1/2″ pieces.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, rice vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce and water.

4. Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in cooking oil and add several slices to the wok, but do not overlap. Fry each side until browned. Remove to plate. Repeat with remaining pork belly slices.

5. Turn the heat to medium-low. Add in the garlic, ginger, chiles and green onion. Saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the remaining caramel sauce into the pan.Return the pork belly slices back into the wok and let simmer for 10 minutes.

 FOR THE CHILI SAUCE
1 stalk green onion, minced
1 fresh serrano chili, minced or sliced very thinly
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 jar Pickled bamboo shoots
1 jarJapanese  pickles (Kyuri asazuke)
hoisin sauce

Place the green onion, chili, vinegar and salt in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cooking oil until smoking, remove from heat and immediately pour on top of the green onion mixture. Cook with caution: the oil will bubble and crackle while adding the chili sauce mixture.

FOR THE BUNS:
Makes 20 Buns

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour for dusting work surface
2 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit dough
1/4 cup canola oil
20 parchment squares (about 4×4-inch)

1. Dust work surface with the flour. Open the can of dough. There are 10 biscuits in each can. Separate out the biscuits. Keep the dough covered loosely with plastic wrap or towel. Roll each biscuit into an oval and fold in half.Lightly brush some cooking oil on the bottom of the buns Place on parchment square. Keep covered until ready to steam. Repeat the process with the second can of dough.

2. Prepare steamer. Place five to six buns on a heat proof plate.You will need to steam the buns in batches, to avoid overcrowding the plate while steaming and preventing the buns from sticking to each other.Steam the buns for 12 minutes.

To serve, carefully open each bun, spread a bit of hoisin sauce in the bun. Add a slice of pork belly and top with the chili sauce,a bit of the bamboo shoots and three Japanese pickles.

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