Monday, 12 May 2014

Coconut crispy pork "gua bao"

Yum bun. Bao. Flesh and buns. Momofuku. Thank you glorious chefs for bringing these sweet buns to everyone's lives. These sweet Asian pillowy sandwiches are a revolution to my life.. Well, maybe just to my diet. When I made these Asian lion's head meatballs last year, it was to satisfy my boyfriend's obsession  love of sandwiches. These certainly tick the box too. The traditional "gua bao" from Taiwan  is the godfather of bao: signature pickled greens, coriander, crushed peanut powder as the holy trinity of accoutrements... Lest we forget the sweet and sticky pork belly slices. I am a total pork belly fanatic and devotee. How I've managed to have so little pork belly on the blog so far is atrocious. This recipe draws inspiration from the original, but just some personal tweaks suited to my taste. 

I've got to admit before you read any further I'm a total cheater here. Those buns...aren't mine. There are some great recipes out there, but you need time and patience. And faith that you've not wasted four hours for nothing. When I first started out recipes for buns for supper clubs, there were so many variations: different rising times, gluten levels, fat content, flour brands, kneading's endless torture if you aren't a pro at bread. Now, I have a stock pile in my freezer that I can always whip out should the craving call for me. However, in comes convenient frozen buns from Asian food stores. Since these buns have become more famous, they're readily available in most places which is fabbo. 

What goes in it is up to you. I believe pork fillet to be an underused, value for money, secret weapon for bite sized glory. It's protected in cornflour when fried, so stays crispy on the outside and full of juicy goodness on the inside. Tucked into a soft bread bun, sliced carrots and a sweet coconut cashew crumb it's a perfect "sandwich" to put a smile on your face. You can use this pork recipe for noodles, rice or a side dish with vegetables...don't just limit yourself to buns, just enjoy how you want. The sweet sugar combo will surprise you. I took the idea from a pork belly dish we have in Hong Kong - where the belly is cooked and served cold, to dip into a choice of a spicy mustard kick, or caster sugar for a contrasting flavour.