kong bak pau

Originally posted: March 2011

Kong Bak Pau

So this is take two of the ‘kong bak pau’. My first attempt, I didn’t have cloves so the recipe turned out a little weird. This time round I used a different recipe. It’s very simple and pretty good. I just probably kinda over-seared my pork belly, so though it was tender, it wasn’t really the melt-in-your-mouth texture I wanted.

I couldn’t find the plain white mantou (steamed white buns) at the Asian grocer and wasn’t keen on walking to Chinatown. So I decided to try and make my own mantou. I found a recipe online. It is pretty simple to put together except that one has to measure 600g of flour. When I did the cooking conversion online, they told me 600g was 6 cups. Wrong. Good thing I knew how to improvise and still managed to get a good, elastic, smooth dough. Whew. The buns turned out pretty okay – though I still prefer the ones I can buy at the supermarket, except that they don’t sell the buns with pockets to stuff the meat in here in Frenchy cold country. Now my freezer has tonnes of mantou. Gah.

Kong Bak Pau

(taken from here)

Ingredients:

  • 600g pork belly
  • 2 cinnamon  sticks
  • 15-20 star anise
  • 10-15 cloves
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 3-4 tsp light soy sauce
  • 3-4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • about 1 litre Coca Cola

Method:

  1. Marinate the pork belly with light and dark soy sauce,  oyster sauce, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, garlic, for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat a pot with 1 tablespoon of oil and saute few cloves of garlic till fragrant. Add in pork belly and marinade, stir fry to ensure even cooking.
  3. Pour in Coca Cola, sufficient to cover the meat. Turn up to high heat and bring the whole mixture to boil. When the sauce is nearly dried out, add in more Coke and boil again, this time in lesser amount. Repeat until the meat is soft. (You might want to add water after 2 rounds of Coke, so that it’ll not be too sweet). Simmer for about 30mins.

Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou)

(taken from here)

Makes 16 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 16 squares parchment paper, each 7cm by 7cm in area
  • 350ml warm water
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • dash salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1.5 tablespoons oil
  • 600g white bread flour

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and salt in the water, and then mix in the yeast. Let it rest for a while and it should smell active.
  2. Add the oil to the mixture.
  3. In a large bowl, add the flour and scoop out a hole in the centre. Add the liquids to the hole and gradually incorporate the flour.
  4. Knead the dough until it forms into an elastic and smooth ball, which takes about 15 minutes. The dough should not stick to your hands, and be quite stretchy.
  5. Roll out the dough into a tube that’s about 5cm in diameter.
  6. Slice the tube into 16 loaves. Lay each of the loaves on its cylindrical edge, not the face, on top of a square of parchment paper.
  7. Wait 20 minutes for the loaves to rise. They won’t rise much, but you just want the surface of the loaves to be puffy.
  8. Arrange the loaves in one or more bamboo steamers. They will expand more on their faces, so don’t put loaves face-to-face, or they will stick together.
  9. Place the bamboo steamers on top of hot boiling water. Cover, and steam over high heat for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the lid and remove the loaves to a plate, before turning off the heat. You do not want water to condense on the buns.
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