Friday, 12 June 2015

Pork Belly Mantou

I made steamed buns! I really and truly made steamed buns! Mantou are apparently the plain version of Bao which have fillings stuffed inside them. Basically I wanted to use up some pork belly and wanted a challenge all at the same time! The bread dough was actually much easier than I thought it would be although it takes time as it needs to prove, but I love a project and pretty much make all my own bread now anyway. These were great and the pork belly was delicious too. I served it with asparagus instead of spring onion and it was a lovely foil to the sweet stickiness of the pork.

I obviously made these before I started WeightWatchers again, I don't think the pork belly recipe is in anyway WW friendly, but I had some left over dough, which I froze, so I'm sure I can find some healthy fillings.

Pork Belly Mantou (from 101 Sandwiches by Helen Graves)
(makes about 10)

For the mantou:
2 tsp active dry yeast
275ml warm water
30g caster sugar
500g plain flour
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vegetable oil

For the red cooked pork:
500g pork belly in one piece
1½ tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 thick slice fresh ginger, peeled
a small cinnamon stick
2 spring onions, cut into several pieces
2 star anise
1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
50ml Shaoxing rice wine
300ml vegetable stock or water

Thinly sliced spring onions, to serve

To make the mantou: Mix the yeast with the warm water and a pinch or so of the sugar and set aside to activate. Once activated, mix with the remaining sugar and all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl to form a smooth dough. Knead for about 10 minutes (this is much easier in an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment).

Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a clean oiled bowl, then cover with a clean dish towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. Once risen, gently punch down (knock back) the dough and knead again for a few minutes, then return it to the bowl, cover, and let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes. Roll out the dough to form a long, thin rectangle that is roughly 28in x 6in (71cm x 15cm) – don't fret, this is just approximate. Roll up the dough (from a long side) into a long log and then cut into about 10 small lengths, each about 3in (7.5cm) long.

Fill a saucepan with cold water for steaming. Line the steamer basket with muslin or greaseproof paper and place a few of the mantou buns on top (don't be tempted to add more than 3 or 4 as they will expand during steaming). Cover and steam for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let them steam for another 2 minutes. Do not remove the lid until the end of the cooking time. Remove the steamed mantou to a plate and repeat with the other mantou. Once they are all cooked, they can then be reheated in the steamer.

To make the red cooked pork: Place the pork belly in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes, skimming off the scum that rises to the surface. Remove the pork from the pan and let cool. Discard the cooking water. When cool enough to handle, cut the pork into bite-sized chunks.

In a wok over a medium-high heat, melt the sugar with the vegetable oil. After a couple of minutes, once the sugar has begun to caramelise, add the pork (take care, it may spit) and stir to coat. Keep stir-frying this for about 5 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients to the wok and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. At the end of this time, remove the cover, remove, and discard the ginger slice, cassia bark, and star anise, then reduce the sauce until it is thick and glossy, coating the meat.

 Reheat the steamed mantou in the steamer. Serve the red cooked pork in the split mantou, topped with some finely shredded spring onions.


  1. Oh, I LOVE steamed buns and have managed to recreate them at home too - they're so yummy aren't they! We've had them wit prawn cakes (just whizzed up prawns with herbs and spices and then fried) which worked brilliantly with some fresh veg and a swipe of mayo and would be nice and low in points.

    Just out of interest, at what point did you freeze the dough and did the defrosted dough work ok? I actually froze buns but they had a slightly different texture when they came out, even after we'd "revived" them.

    1. Yay! Oooo I'm going to try making prawn cakes, what herbs and spices did you use? I froze them just before steaming, so basically the raw dough. I haven't defrosted them yet though, so I'm not sure how they'll come out. I'll let you know.

  2. I've just looked out the recipe - the ones we made were incredibly simple. It's a lot of pepper but it makes them really spicy and yummy!

    Pan-Fried Shrimp Cake Recipe

    Ingredients - approximate

    300g raw king prawns
    1 clove of garlic
    1 medium shallot
    2 teaspoons sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons pepper
    2 tablespoons flour

    Oil for frying

    1. Blitz the ingredients in a food processor until it becomes a paste, form the paste into burgers
    2. Heat oil in a frying pan on high heat and place the burgers in the pan
    3. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about three minutes per side.
    4. Serve with wasabi mayonnaise and iceberg lettuce

    1. That sounds awesome, thank you :)