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Momofuku Pork Buns, Sous-Vide Style

These pork buns are great finger food for your party, or as starters if it's a sit-down affair. It's quite a crowd pleaser so it's best to make more than one portion per person, as many will come back and ask for more!

This sous-vide version strikes the perfect balance of moist and tender interior with crispy cracklings. It does require some advance planning but it's mostly set-and-forget, making the last minute prep dead easy.

Recipe: Momofuku Pork Buns, Sous-Vide Style

Serves 8 as starters
Active prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1-2 days

Ingredients

Pork
600g (20 oz) slab of pork belly, skin-on
Salt 

Cucumber Relish
1 whole cucumber
12g (3 tsp) sugar
4g (1 tsp) salt

To Finish
12 mini plain steamed buns
100ml (0.4 cups) Hoisin sauce

Method

2 days before
Set Codlo to preheat water bath to 70°C (158°F) with 24 hours cooking time. Once target temperature is reached, seal the pork belly in a bag and submerge in the water bath.

1 day before before
Once it’s cooked, rapid chill the sealed bag containing the pork in an ice bath. Place the unopened pouch containing the pork belly skin side down between two baking trays and a weight on top to flatten the skin. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

30 minutes before
Remove the chilled pork from the bag. Rub salt on the skin generously. Cut the pork into 1cm (2/3 inch) thick portions with the same width as the buns. Preheat broiler to 250°C (482°F). Place the sliced pork together skin side up and wrap tightly with aluminium foil on all sides, except the skin. Grill for 10-12 minutes until crispy.

Meanwhile, shred the cucumber with a grater. Mix in salt and sugar, set aside.

Steam the buns for 5-8 minutes until soft and fluffy, do this in batches if necessary. Slice the buns 3/4 open, leaving a ‘hinge’.

To plate
To assemble: spread a thin layer of Hoisin sauce on the base of each bun. Place a piece of pork belly and top it with some grated cucumber. Serve immediately.

Notes & Tips

Choose leaner cuts of pork belly for best results.

It’s best to slice your pork when it’s chilled. The meat is firmer when cold, allowing you to cut without it falling apart.

For the plain steamed buns, look for the ones shaped like a sock-puppet mouth, which can be bought from Asian supermarkets - you won’t need to slice them open then!