Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pork Belly on Steamed Buns with Gojujang Sauce and Pickled Cucumbers

If you haven't eaten all of your pork belly yet and haven't grown weary of my pig jokes...I know, I'm asking a lot.  I have another recipe for you.  Pork Belly on Steamed Buns with Gojujang Sauce and Pickled Cucumbers.  What is gogjujang you may ask?  It is a fermented red pepper paste from Korea.  It's a little spicy plus sweet and smoky and I can't get enough of it lately. 

 Now, here's the thing.  You'll probably only find gojujang at an Asian grocery store or I'm sure you could order it online.  Once you've acquired it, make this sauce below.  Make it a lot.  Use it for these pork belly buns and then make more and toss it with noodles. Bake or fry some chicken and slather it with this sauce. Use it as a dip for egg rolls or dumplings. Add it to your scrambled eggs.  You get the idea.

There are many recipes out there to make your own steamed buns but I bought mine at the Asian market in the freezer section and thawed, then steamed them in a bamboo steamer.  And although the package says you can microwave them instead, don't.  Trust me, they are not good.

The final element, the quick pickled cucumbers add the acid and crunch that the pork belly needs.  And these are so dead simple, they'd make a great side dish at any meal. 

 Here's a thought.  Serve these Pork Belly Buns at your Super Bowl party.  People may miss some of the game when they take a bite and their eyes roll back in their heads.  But that's a risk you'll have to take.  And let's face it, they could get buffalo wings and sliders anywhere.

Pork Belly on Steamed Buns with Gojujang Sauce and Pickled Cucumbers

1. Take pork belly slices out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature.  Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.  Warm pork belly slices in the heated pan starting with fat side down first.  Then turn to warm sides of pork belly, 2-3 minutes.  Do not cook the belly, just warm it.

2. Fill wok with an inch of water and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Set bamboo steamer over wok.  Line steamer with a piece of wax paper and fill with steamed buns.  Do not let them touch each other.  Put lid on steamer and steam for 10-15 minutes.

3.  Slice open steamed buns down the center of the top of the bun, rather than on the side of the bun.  Fill with warmed pork belly, gojujang sauce and pickled cucumbers.  Serve immediately.

Slow-Cooked Pork Belly
Recipe here

Gojujang Sauce
5 cloves of garlic
1 1-1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3T gojujang paste (Korean red pepper paste)
1T honey
3T soy sauce
1 1/2T rice vinegar
1T sesame oil

In a food processor chop garlic and ginger.  My tip: Turn the food processor on and then drop the garlic and ginger down the feed tube and watch the magic happen.  Add gojujang, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil and whiz until combined.

Pickled Cucumbers
2 small Kirby or baby seedless cucumbers, slice 1/8 inch thick
1T sugar
3/4T kosher salt
2T rice vinegar

Combine sliced cucumbers, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Rinse salt and sugar off cucumber and pat dry.  Add rice vinegar and serve immediately or keep refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

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