Soy & Five-Spice Pork Belly Buns
Easy to share and adaptive to global ingredients, sliders are a favorite on appetizer and small plate menus. Chef Tila gives his recipe a Pan-Asian accent, starting with soy-braised pork belly and topping the meat with pickled Japanese cucumbers. Mayonnaise spiced up with Sriracha and Japanese seasonings makes a zesty condiment.
Soy-Braised Pork Belly
7 cups cold water
1/2 lb. dark brown sugar or 1 cup rock candy
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxing wine
1 piece (1 in.) gingerroot
6 scallions, trimmed and cut into 3-in. pieces
3 lb. skin-on pork belly
6 to 8 bao buns
2 to 3 Japanese cucumbers (2 cups sliced)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 qt. kewpie mayonnaise
17 oz. Sriracha hot chili sauce
10 tbsp. shichimi togarashi (Japanese spice powder)
1 1/2 oz. yuzu kosho (Japanese seasoning paste)
- Prepare pork belly: In a pan wide enough to hold the pork belly in one layer, combine water, sugar, soy sauce, wine, ginger and scallions. Add pork belly, skin-side down, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer; cover and braise 30 min.
- Turn pork belly skin-side up; cover and braise 3 hr. longer. (The pork should be immersed in liquid about halfway.) Liquid should be reduced by about half by the end of cooking time.
- Cool pork belly in liquid overnight and cut into 4-by-6-in. pieces.
- Prepare pickled cucumbers: Slice cucumbers on a mandolin. Cover generously with salt and allow to stand 30 min. Rinse and drain well.
- In nonreactive saucepan, bring vinegar, water and sugar to a boil over med. heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved; cool. Place cucumbers in a bowl; pour vinegar mixture over. Allow to stand at least 1 hr. Drain off excess vinegar mixture before using; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Prepare spicy mayo: Whisk together all ingredients and transfer to a squeeze bottle.
- To serve, simmer pork belly in cooking liquid to reheat. Layer pork on bao buns; top with cucumbers and mayo.