Recipes, Pork Recipes

Glazed pork belly bao buns

These steamed buns, like fluffy little envelopes, get filled with glazed and sliced pork belly, pickled vegetables and coriander. Each one offering up a glorious couple of mouthfuls. Perfect food for sharing, be sure to make plenty of bao.

These buns have had a boom in popularity in this country, since a brilliant restaurant group launched a little restaurant in Soho. It is not difficult to see why they became so popular. Steamed to resemble a soft aerated pillow, then stuffed full with any number of delicious bits. Gone in a couple of mouthfuls, you’ll immediately want another. Here thin slices of pork belly are glazed in a sticky aromatic little number – pickles, chillies and coriander there to offer their support. It’s a fun way to feed the family.

Glazed pork belly bao buns

Glazed pork belly bao buns

Recipe by

Serves 5-7


  • 1.4 kg Pork Belly Joint, Boneless & Rindless

  • 100ml rice wine vinegar

  • 3 dried chillies

  • 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns

  • 1 tsp cloves

  • 1 star anise

  • 150ml soy sauce

  • 150ml Shaoxing wine

  • 1 orange, halved

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • For the pickled vegetables
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned

  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds

  • 300ml rice wine vinegar

  • 200ml water

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • 1 tsp white peppercorns

  • For the bao buns
  • 1.1 kg plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting

  • 30g fresh yeast

  • 80g caster sugar

  • 36g baking powder

  • 440ml warm water

  • 100ml oat milk

  • 4 tbsp neutral oil

  • To garnish
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced

  • 1 bunch of coriander, picked from the thick stalks


  • Place the belly in a large heavy bottomed pan, along with all the other ingredients, plus a splash of water and a pinch of salt.
  • Cover with a lid and set over a high heat, bringing the liquid up to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover with the lid, and cook for 40 minutes. Baste the pork occasionally with the cooking liquid.
  • Remove the belly from the pot and lay on an oven tray.
  • Return the pan with the cooking liquid to the heat and reduce until thickened and almost syrup like.
  • Heat your oven to 180°C.
  • Brush the pork, all over, with the glaze and transfer the tray to the oven. Cook for 6 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and brush again with the glaze. Return to the oven for another 6 minutes
  • Repeat the glazing process twice more. Then leave to cool.
  • For the pickles
  • Place the carrot and cucumber in a bowl and season with salt.
  • Add the vinegar, water, sugar, peppercorns and coriander seeds to a pan, set over a high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
  • Drain any excess liquid from the carrots and cucumbers, then pour over the hot pickle liquid and leave to sit. Preferably for 2-3 hours before you want to eat.
  • For the bao buns
  • Put the flour in the mixing bowl of a food mixer and crumble in the fresh yeast.
  • Mix the warm water with the oat milk and oil.
  • Using the dough hook, begin to mix the flour on a medium speed, slowly adding the liquid ingredients until everything is incorporated.
  • Next add the salt and keep mixing on a medium speed for 4-5 minutes.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and tip the dough out. Using a dough scraper, shape the dough into a ball.
  • Line the sides of a mixing bowl with a little oil and place the ball of dough into the bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave to prove somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Cut 25, 10cm squares of parchment paper.
  • Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll to 1cm thickness.
  • Find a cup or small bowl and cut out discs of dough.
  • Brush each disc of dough with a little oil, then place a chopstick across the middle of one of the discs of dough. Fold the dough in half, over the chop stick and then transfer it to one of the squares of parchment paper. Remove the chopstick.
  • Repeat until all the discs are folded.
  • Cover with a cloth and leave to prove for a further hour.
  • Set a pot of water to boil and prepare your steaming basket by carefully adding the doughs. Be wary not to add too many doughs to each basket, they do not want to overlap.
  • Set the baskets over the boiling water and steam for 10-12 minutes. The cooking will need to be done in batches.
  • To serve
  • Cut the belly lengthways into 2, then slice thinly across. Lay the sliced belly on a plate and brush once more with the glaze.
  • Litter the table with bowls of pickles, chillies and picked coriander. Then let everyone help themselves…