Spiced pork bao buns and homemade pickles
For the pork
- a 1.8kg boneless pork shoulder joint
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
- 50g root ginger, peeled and bruised with the flat of a knife
- 100ml dry sherry
- 100ml light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole star anise
For the homemade pickles
- 6 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 700g carrots
- 1 red chilli, finely sliced
- 8 bao burger buns(or brioche buns)*
- 6 spring onions, finely shredded
- a handful of coriander leaves
Step by step
- Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 130°C, gas 2. Pat the pork dry with kitchen paper.
- Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole and fry the pork joint, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over. Add the honey and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes until the pork is starting to caramelise. Add the garlic and ginger, followed by the sherry. Allow the sherry to bubble for 1 minute, then add both types of soy, the cinnamon and star anise. Pour over 1 litre of water; you want the liquid to reach three-quarters of the way up the pork. Add up to 250ml extra, if necessary. Bring up to a simmer and cover the pork with a piece of damp baking paper, followed by a tightly fitting lid.
- Transfer to the oven and cook for 3½ hours, turning halfway, until the pork falls apart when pressed with a fork. Carefully remove the joint from the casserole. Remove any bindings then shred the meat using two forks, discarding the skin and fat. Reduce the cooking liquor in the casserole over a high heat. Once it has a light syrupy consistency, strain and pour over the shredded pork. Stir to combine. If preparing in advance, see ‘Get ahead’, above.
- About 30 minutes before you wish to serve, reheat the pork (if necessary) and make the pickles. Combine the vinegar and sugar with a pinch of salt in a bowl, stirring to dissolve. Peel the carrots then use the veg peeler to shave them into ribbons. Add to the vinegar mixture, along with the chilli.
Heat the bao buns following pack instructions. Open the buns and fill with braised pork, some drained carrot pickles, a few spring onions and a some coriander leaves, to serve.
*Use dairy-free bao/brioche buns if required.