These milk buns are super-light and fluffy – they pair perfectly with pork belly. They can be made ahead, so when you're ready to serve, the only thing you need to do is fill the buns. For a vegetarian version, swap out the pork for sliced, fried eggplant and glaze with some of the marinade sauce. Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the pork.
- 2 carrots, cut into julienne
- 2 spring onions, cut into julienne
- ½ telegraph cucumber, cut into julienne
- Coriander sprigs, to serve
- Japanese mayonnaise, to serve
Marinated pork belly
- 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
- 60 ml cooking sake
- 60 gm honey
- 40 gm gochujang
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 15 gm ginger (about 3 cm), finely grated
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 kg pork belly, skin and excess fat removed, cut into 2cm-thick slices
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp dried yeast
- 250 ml (1 cup) lukewarm milk
- 360 gm plain flour
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 20 gm softened unsalted butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten, for eggwash
- Black and white sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- 1For marinated pork, combine ingredients in a non-reactive container and refrigerate to marinate (overnight).
- 2For milk-bun dough, combine sugar, yeast and 150ml milk, stir to dissolve yeast and leave to activate (5 minutes). Combine remaining milk and 2 tbsp flour in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until mixture has thickened (2-3 minutes), then cool. Combine remaining flour and 1 tsp salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add egg, yeast mixture and thickened milk and mix until a dough forms, then add butter and mix until well combined (5 minutes). Cover and leave to prove until dough has doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
- 3Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C. Add pork to a small roasting pan and braise in oven until tender (2 hours). Cool, then cut into 6cm pieces.
- 4Knock back dough and roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a 20cm x 80cm rectangle. Fold in half, then roll into a cylinder. Cut into 12 equal pieces, transfer to a greased baking tray and leave to prove until dough has doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
- 5Preheat oven to 190°C. Brush bun tops with eggwash, sprinkle with seeds and bake until golden and cooked (15 minutes), then cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container until required. Buns are best served the same day.
- 6To serve, preheat a barbecue to high. Grill pork, turning occasionally, until charred and sticky (3-5 minutes). Combine vegetables and herbs in a bowl. Halve buns, add a dollop of mayonnaise to each, then top with pork and vegetable mixture.