Fluffy steamed buns, stuffed with juicy shreds of hoisin-slathered pork, cucumber and coriander… is there anything more irresistible? Different forms of bao are found all over China, but the satiny, slightly sweet buns we’ve come to love (in an obsessive, stalker-y love kinda way) originate in Taiwan, where they are usually filled with pork belly, pickled mustard greens, coriander and crushed peanuts. Oh my. This is our take on the bao, using slow-cooked shoulder in our home-made hoisin. Nothing wrong with the gloopy stuff in a jar, taste-wise, but it can contain a few numbers and letters we can do without. And yes, we know bao bun is a tautology. Like a big pizza pie. But when it hits your eye (followed shortly by your stomach), that’s amore.
Makes 12 bao
To make the hoisin, combine all the ingredients with a stick blender and divide into three equal parts.
For the pork, mix a third of the hoisin with 1 tbs of the soy sauce and ginger and rub this mixture all over the pork. Leave to marinate for at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 220C. Place pork in a baking tray in the oven for 30 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 130C, splash in a cup of water, cover with foil and cook until tender enough to pull apart with a fork – 5-8 hours.
Remove pork and allow to cool enough to handle, then shred and mix with the second third of hoisin, the remaining soy sauce, sesame oil, any accumulated juices and the chopped coriander and spring onions.
To serve: steam bao according to the instructions on the packet, then stuff each one with the hoisin-pulled pork, cucumber and coriander, drizzled with extra hoisin. Some sriracha mayo is entirely optional but will take it to the next level.