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Sweet and Spicy Pork Buns

  • Author: Ai Ping
  • Yield: 4 to 6 buns 1x


Few things can compare to melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly glazed in a sweet and spicy chili sauce with pickled greens in a soft steamed bun.



Braised Pork Belly

  • lb pork belly with skin (cut into 1″)
  • 5 garlic cloves (peeled and lightly bruised)
  • 5 green onions (cut into 3″ length)
  • 2 ” ginger (sliced)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 tbs light soy sauce
  • 2 tbs thick caramel sauce (for color)
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3 cups water and more for blanching

Mantou (Buns)

  • Click the link above for the recipe.

Chili sauce

  • 2 red Fresno chilies (deseed one)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼1/3 cup sugar
  • tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tbs cornstarch + ½ tbs water (cornstarch slurry)

Pickled mustard green

  • 46 Chinese mustard green (leaves and stems)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Rice vinegar


  • ½ cup crushed peanuts or cashews
  • 2 red fresno chilies (sliced)
  • A couple sprigs cilantro


Pork Belly

  1. Blanch Pork: Put the pork in a pot or a large wide saucepan. Add enough water to cover the pork by 1″. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiled, let it hard boil for 1 minute. Drain and rinse the pork with cool water.
  2. Braise Pork: Add the blanched pork and the rest of the ingredients for the braised pork belly into the pot. Add 3 cups of water or enough to almost cover the pork (pork will shrink a little). Bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiled, simmer on low heat for 2 hours.
  3. Reduce Liquid: Uncover and turn the heat to medium high. Let it continue to boil to reduce the sauce. I like the pork with some sauce so I’d let it boil for only 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If the sauce is still not thick to your liking, add a cornstarch slurry (combine 1-2 tsp cornstarch with 1-2 tsp water) depending on how thick you want the sauce to be.

Chili Sauce

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the chilies and garlic cloves. Put the chili garlic paste into a small saucepan. Add the water, sugar, vinegar, lime juice and salt. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Once boiled, turn the heat to low and add the cornstarch slurry. When chili sauce has thickened to your liking, remove from heat.

Pickled mustard green

  1. In a sterilized wide mouth glass jar, add a layer of mustard green. Sprinkle with a layer of salt. Repeat with another layer of mustard green and salt. Once, you’ve finished layaring, add enough water to submerge the mustard green.
  2. If you want it slightly spicy, add 1-2 red chilies.
  3. Add 1 tbs rice vinegar and cover the jar. Let it ferment for 5-10 days depending on the temperature. It will turn a yellowish brown when it’s ready. The vegetable must be fully submerged in the water at all times or you’ll risk having mold.
  4. Remove the mustard green from the liquid and dice it. If it’s not salty and sour enough, drizzle some soy sauce, add a pinch salt and some vinegar.

To assemble

  1. Slather some chili sauce on one side of the mantou. Top with pork, drizzle some of the uber concentrated sauce, add pickled greens, crushed nuts, chilies and cilantro.


If making pickled mustard green is too daunting for you, feel free to use commercially sold pickled mustard greens or other types of pickled vegetables like sweet radish or even kim chi.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Chinese
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