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  • Writer's pictureOllie Tarrant

Pork belly bao buns

Updated: Jan 1, 2021


I LOVE this recipe. It’s one of my all time favourites. This is another one which I’ve been perfecting for ages, and I’m really pleased with the results. I’ve had this at various street food festivals before, and was determined to come up with my own recipe. You can absolutely swap out the pork for tofu, and just use the same sauce if you wanted to make it veggie/vegan. For anyone who loves asian food, I would definitely recommend making this – perfect balance of sweet sour and spicy, and the soft buns with the crunchy veg and melting pork is so good.

Ingredients (makes 8 buns, serves 2-3):

For the pork

  • 500g Pork belly

  • 4-5 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 large thumb ginger, grated

  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tbsp sriracha

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar

  • Zest and juice from 1.5 oranges

  • 1 star anise

For the dough

  • 250g plain flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 75ml water

  • 50ml milk

  • 1 tsp sugar

For the pickle

  • 15 radishes

  • 1/2 cucumber

  • 150ml rice wine vinegar

  • 3 tbsp sugar


  • 2 spring onions

  • Black and white sesame seeds

  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce

  • 10g Coriander


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 140C. Finely chop the garlic, chilli and ginger, and add into an oven proof dish, along with the pork belly. Add in all of the other ingredients for the pork, and pour in enough water to just cover the pork. Mix well to combine. Cover the dish with tin foil, and cook in the oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the tin foil, turn up the temperature to 160C, and cook for a further hour.

  2. For the dough, add the baking powder, salt and sugar to the flour in a mixing bowl and mix well. Pour in the water and milk, and mix until a dough forms. Knead the dough until there is 1 consistent ball. Pour 1 tsp oil into the mixing bowl, and grease it. Place the dough back in the bowl, and leave to prove for 1 hour.

  3. For the pickle, top and tail the radishes. Finely slice the radishes, using either a knife (tekkers required!) or a mandolin. Slice the cucumber in half lengthways, and scoop out and discard the wet inside. Slice into very thin half moons. Pour the rice wine vinegar and sugar into a saucepan, and bring to heat. As soon as they have dissolved, bring off the heat, and leave to cool. Once cool, place the radishes and cucumber slices in a bowl, and cover withe the vinegar/sugar mixture. Leave to pickle for at least 45 mins.

  4. Once the dough is proved, split the dough into 8 pieces, and shape each piece into an oval, about 1 cm thick. Fold each oval in half lengthways, forming a claw. Rub a small amount of sesame oil on the inside of the fold, and on the bottom of the bun. Place in a basket steamer with some baking parchment on each level, and steam for 6-8 mins until springy and moist.

  5. Once the pork belly is cooked, remove from the dish, cover with foil, and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Once rested, chop the pork into bitesize pieces. Spoon over the reduced cooking liquid, and coat the chopped up pork.

  6. Finely slice the spring onions. Pick the coriander leaves from the stems.

  7. To serve, spoon a teaspoon of hoisin sauce onto each bun. Top with a generous helping of pork, a few pickled radishes and cucumber, coriander, spring onions and a sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds.


I would absolutely love it if you made this one. If you do, please let me know on Instagram @OTCooks_Eats, or comment below. Happy cooking!

OT x

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