Best Ever Pork Buns!

Pillows of soft, sweet dough cradling a mouthful of salty pork in thick sticky sauce... Is there anything more glorious?


You will need... (makes 15 pork buns)
For the BBQ pork (prepare a day in advance)-
300gr pork fillet, trimmed of fat and sinew
2.5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar (or shaved palm sugar if you have it)
3 tbsp Char Siu Sauce

For the dough-
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
250ml lukewarm water
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
400gr plain (all-purpose) flour



For the filling-
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Char Siu Sauce
1/4 cup of water

Method...
1. Prepare this recipe a day ahead by marinating the pork fillet. To make the marinade, measure out all the ingredients listed below the BBQ Pork ingredient heading. Dice the ginger and garlic, then mix with the hoisin, soy, brown sugar and char siu sauce. Trim any fat or sinew off the pork fillet and massage the marinade all over it. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
2. The following day, begin preparations a few hours ahead. Start by making the dough; place the sugar and water in a mixing bowl and stir to dissolve. Add the yeast and leave to rest for 10 minutes or until frothy.
4. In a large bowl, combine the oil to the yeast mixture and sift in the flour and baking powder. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mix begins to come together then knead the mixture with your hands until it comes together as a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Scrape down the edges and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Set aside to prove (rise).

2. Remove marinated pork from the fridge, heat a BBQ grill plate on medium-high and add the pork, turning and basting with leftover marinade, for 15 minutes or until the juices run clear when tested with a skewer. By this stage the surface should be nicely charred. Set pork aside in a shallow dish covered with foil to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Once the pork has rested, check your dough, it if it has started to rise 'punch' the air out of it, recover it and leave it to double in size again. It will need to prove for an hour total.
6. Remove the pork from the resting dish and use a sharp knife to dice the pork into almost a mince-like consistency (the finer the dice the better the pork bun filling will be).
7. Prepare the filling by measuring out the oil, vinegar and sauces under the 'Pork Filling' ingredients heading. Combine all together with the pork and place in a saucepan. Bring to the simmer briefly to infuse the flavours and then transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature.
8. Once your dough has rested for an hour and doubled in size, remove from the bowl and place on a very lightly floured bench. Give it a quick knead to knock out some of the air. Roll into a thick log and use a knife to divide into 15 even-looking portions. Roll each portion into a ball.

9. Once you have your 15 evenly-sized balls of dough and your pork mixture has cooled, use a small rolling pin (I use a cake-decorating one like this) to flatten each ball into a disc around 8cm in diameter- it should be around 3mm thick. If you find your mix is too sticky, use a little bit of cornflour to help roll.
10. To fill, place a small tablespoon of the pork mixture into the centre of each disk. Bring the edges up around the filling and pinch them together at the top to seal. To avoid the buns sticking to your steamer, you can pre-cut little greaseproof paper squares for them to sit on.

8. Steam for 10-12 minutes, or until the dough has puffed up and set. The tops may open slightly when ready. If you are not eating them all immediately, I recommend steaming them anyway, if you leave them un-steamed on the bench the yeast will continue to rise the dough and you will end up with over-proved pork balloons.

N.B: The steamed buns can be refrigerated and reheated in a steamer or microwave the following day, they can even be frozen- just defrost them prior to reheating.

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