Pork Buns

This recipe is an adaptation of Hamish Ingham's Pork Buns; it featured in the April 2015 edition of delicious. magazine. Both the stock & bun recipe were converted to gluten free.  

You will need a good steamer (bamboo, Thermomix or something home made) 

 

Ingredients

1 kg Boneless pork shoulder#

I have used good quality pork & bagged supermarket pork - the family couldn't taste the difference when the pork was cooked this way. There will be pulled pork left over as I have halved the bun recipe. The left over pork can be stored in the fridge. 

Buns

300 g Milk

260 g Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour

90 g Maize starch

55 g Caster sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

1.5 tsp Yeast (dried)

25 g Oil

Extra - oil

Makes 8 large buns or 12 smaller buns. The original recipe made 16 large buns. I found this number time consuming when it came to cooking them as I only have 1 bamboo steamer & could only cook 4 large buns at a time. I also steamed them using my Thermomix but the aroma from the bamboo steamer was better.  

 

*Stock*

330 g Caster sugar

375 g Dry sherry

375 g Medium sherry

500 g Tamari sauce

250 g Water

8 Star anise

10 Garlic cloves (bruised)

3 Cinnamon quills 

5 Spring onions (chopped)

100 -120 g Chopped fresh ginger

Pared zest of 1 orange

 

*Stock* - I found this an expensive stock to make. I made it first with gluten contaminated ingredients to get the taste of it & then I repeated it with gluten free ingredients. Honestly I was nearly hyper-ventilating as I was making it - it cost more than the pork! Basically the pork is cooked in the stock & then 120 g of the stock is used. I didn't have to grow up in the depression (my mother did) to want to keep the rest of the stock. 

What to do with the rest of the stock.

  • Pour the still hot stock into a very clean container put the lid over the container. Allow to cool before sealing completely & refrigerating. 
  • Refrigerate the stock (if you have room in your fridge) & cook another piece of pork. I combined both stocks & have since cooked another 3 pieces of pork. My teenage son takes some of the pulled pork for lunch.
  • Use some of the stock to make Chinese style Chicken & Vegetable soup - we have had this a couple of times.
  • Use some of the stock as a replacement for salt in stir fry's. After cooking 4 shoulders of pork in it the stock is quite rich & is great to add as flavour. 

Sherry - The sherry in the recipe is a replacement for Chinese rice wine (Shaohsing). The only Shaohsing I could find was the poor quality supermarket variety (it has a lot of salt added). I did a taste comparison with the dry sherry, medium sherry & Shaohsing (even though it was salty) & think 50:50 dry & medium sherry is a good substitute for the wine. 

Tamari Sauce - The original recipe used dark & light soy sauce. I normally use Kikkomon soy sauce so I used this to compare with the gluten free soy sauce I bought. The flavour of Abundant Earth gluten free Tamari soy sauce was better than the gluten free Fountain soy sauce. 

Pared orange zest - There are a couple of ways that you can get the zest off an orange. For this recipe I used a zester. If you are unsure of what a zester looks like click on the following link - it will take you to an article about zesting citrus.

  

Dipping Sauce

1 Long red chilli (finely chopped)

1 tbs Rice vinegar

2 tsp Sesame oil

60 g of the stock

Method

Cooking the pork

Combine all stock ingredients in a large saucepan/stock pot. As the pork will be cooked in the stock it needs to be a large pot.

Place the pot over high heat & bring the stock to the boil. Reduce heat & simmer the stock for 20 mins.

Cut off any string/mesh that is holding the pork together. Put the pork into the stock, ensuring it is fully submerged, cover the top of the pot with baking paper & then put the lid on. If the rind of the pork was still above the stock (the pork was floating) I would not worry about covering it with the stock but I would rotate the meat after ~ 1 hour. 

Reduce the heat to low & simmer for ~1.5 - 2 hours. The time will depend on the size of the piece of pork. The pork is well cooked if you put a bamboo skewer into the meat of the pork & you can pull it out easily. It will need more cooking if you put the skewer in & can lift up the piece of pork. The first piece of pork I had (~1.2 kg) didn't have any skin on it or much fat & it took 3 hours to cook. 

Remove the pork from the stock & set it aside to cool. Discard the rind & excess fat from the pork & shred the meat. I usually put on gloves to shred the meat as we use some of the meat for school lunches. Combine the shredded pork with ~60 g of the stock. The 60 g is based on 1 kg of pork (prior to cooking) so if you cooked a larger piece of pork add in more stock to the shredded meat. Basically you want it to be moist.

Making the buns

Warm the milk slightly & stir in the yeast & sugar. Stand this mixture for ~5 mins or until it starts to froth.

In a mixing bowl (stand mixer is preferable) combine together the Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour, salt & maize starch.

Add the oil to the yeast/milk mix & pour it onto the dry ingredients. Mix until you have a uniform dough - it will be slightly tacky.

Cut out little squares of baking paper to rest your pork buns on. Put the squares on a baking tray.

Turn your oven on to ~50 for 10 mins then turn it off again. Put a tray of warm water down the bottom.  

The next bit is a bit messy

Put some baking paper on your bench & lightly oil it. I usually have a bowl with a bit of oil in it on the bench. At this stage I usually put on disposable gloves & oil them a little - it really helps to stop the dough sticking to your hands.

If you are making 8 buns take ~90 g of the dough (12 buns take ~60 g) & transfer it to the oiled baking paper. I normally oil a bit of baking paper, put it on top of the scales & then weigh some of the dough to get an idea of how much I need. The dough is a bit too runny to simply divide it. Shape the blob of dough into a ~10 cm disk that is roughly even in height.

Place 1-2 tablespoons of the pork onto the center of the dough. Gently bring up the sides of the dough to meet in the center seal the top of the bun. With oiled hands/gloves gently pick up the bun, turn it upside down & put it on one of the baking paper squares on the tray. It is fairly easy to shape them into buns.

Repeat until you have no more dough left. 

Transfer the tray to the pre-warmed oven & let them proof for 20 - 30 mins.  

Make the dipping sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl & set aside.

Steaming the buns 

I have used a bamboo steamer (20 cm diameter) & a Thermomix to steam the buns. The aroma from the buns in the bamboo steamer was wonderful, when I make these again I would use the steamer. The original recipe said to use a large bamboo steamer over a wok filled with boiling water, I think that my steamer is a little smaller than the size they had in mind. I used a saucepan with boiling water & put the steamer on top.

In batches, place buns in the steamer & steam for ~15 mins. The time will vary depending on the size of your pork buns. I could only put 2 large or 3 small buns into a layer of the steamer. If you put too many buns into the steamer they will not cook evenly (been there, done that). Ensure you have plenty of room for the steam to move around the buns.

Serve immediately with the dipping sauce. I usually serve one round of the buns while the next ones are steaming.

Simply enjoy!