My shopping cart
Your cart is currently empty.Continue Shopping
Believe it or not, you don’t find ovens in most Taiwanese households. If there is one, it’s likely the oven is used as another “cabinet” to store pantry items such as rice or rice noodles. I discovered the joy of baking only after I moved to the US. Cake, cookies, chicken, fish, you name it—I enjoy baking them all. My favorite moment is turning on the oven light to peek at my delicious food through the glass. That moment of anticipation is the best! A typical method to cook pork in Taiwan is called 紅燒 (braising). It is a combination-cooking method that uses both wet and dry heat. Typically, the pork is first sautéed or seared at a high temperature with soy sauce and rock sugar, then finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature while marinating the sauce. I like to experiment, so sometimes I marinate it first and then bake it in my oven. This has been a fan favorite in my dim sum classes for years.
There are two ways to cook the buns in Taiwan. You can either place the buns in a steamer and steam them, or you can pan-fry them. The famous Taiwanese soup dumplings are done by a steam method. I like to make small BBQ buns and pan-fry them. They remind me of my favorite childhood treat: pan-fried buns (生煎包) from the Shi-Da night market (師大夜市). I love the crispy bottom of the buns and the juicy and chewy fillings. The complexity of the texture makes this one of my top-ranking comfort foods! If you’re ready for a different kind of barbecue, try this recipe. You won’t be disappointed!
Makes about 24
Melissa, Chef and Chief Entertainment Officer of Cooking Beautifullee
1 pound pork belly, skin removed
4 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons Taiwanese rice wine
2 tablespoons ground bean sauce
4 tablespoons honey
All-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface (1 ½ cups)
Baking powder (1 teaspoon)
Lukewarm water (2/3 cup)
Oil: any cooking oil without a strong flavor, such as corn or grapeseed (1 teaspoon)
Optional scallions for garnish
Cut the pork belly into 1 inch strips lengthwise. Rub the pieces with two tablespoons of sugar and place them in a large bowl and set aside for 15 minutes. Pour off any excess liquid.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining two tablespoons of sugar, light soy sauce, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine, ground bean sauce, sesame oil, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Pour mixture over the pork, making sure the pork is well coated. Place in a plastic bag, squeeze out any excess air, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, placing it in a container to capture any leaks.
Preheat the oven to 420°F. When ready to roast, let the pork come to room temperature, allowing it to sit for at least 20 minutes.
Remove the pork from the marinade and place on a baking pan, which you will put on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pork registers 155 degrees.
Remove the pork belly and transfer it to a plate and allow it to cool (at least 10 mins) to just about room temperature. When ready, finely dice the pork belly.
Place flour in a bowl and add baking powder. Whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk active dry yeast in lukewarm water until foamy and add to the flour mixture. Stir with chopsticks to form a dough. Once it’s fully mixed, add 1 teaspoon of oil to the dough and stir. Once it’s mixed, then start kneading the dough with your hands (count to 100).
Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, until the dough doubles in volume.
Divide the dough in half. Gently knead half of the dough on a floured surface to remove any large air bubbles and then roll into a log. Divide the log into 12 equal pieces and press them into rough disks with your palm.
Use a French rolling pin to roll out the edge of the disk closest to you.
Then with the rolling pin in one hand, while holding the opposite edge of the disk with the other hand, rotate the disk as you roll out the edge until the disk is about 3" in diameter. The outer edge of the dough will be thin all around, and the center portion will be slightly thicker.
Put one tablespoon of the filling on the thick center of the dough. Pleat dough at 1/4" intervals to encase the filling. Hold the dumpling in one hand, put the tip of the index finger of your other hand in the center of the pleated dough, then gently twist the pleats shut, removing the index finger as you twist, to completely encase the filling.
To pan-fry the buns using a medium or large nonstick skillet, heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 ½ tablespoons oil for a medium skillet and 2 tablespoons for a large one.
Place the buns one at a time, sealed edges up, in a winding circle pattern, making sure they are not touching. Fry the buns for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are golden or light brown on the bottom.
Holding the lid close to the skillet, use a kettle or measuring cup to add water to a depth of roughly ¼ inch. Cover with the lid, lower the heat to medium and let the water bubble away for 4 to 5 minutes until it is mostly gone.
After 5 minutes, remove the lid. Turn the stove to low heat until most of the water is gone. Let the buns fry for another 1 to 2 minutes until the bottoms are brown and crisp.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with chopped scallions and/or sesame if you like.
La Boîte Tip: Try serving these with a bit of chili oil for a delicious hot accent.