Cooking for Friends

Pulled pork steamed buns

Long time no blog. As of recently a few of my friends and colleagues have pointed out that I haven’t updated this place in a while. Sorry, been to busy eating and not documenting it. Also, “I just don’t have time anymore”. Queue the eye roll.

I decided to make time; I’m currently on a train to Madrid writing this. Hooray, prioritization! Efficiency! It seems like my sporadic blogging days are over. But whatever, let’s talk food. 

The other night Marc and I went to our favorite East Asian supermarket. We originally went to buy edamame and sauces to make an uninspired stir-fry. That was when we saw the frozen food aisle. It had frozen bao buns. Immediately a Gua bao craving came over us and we decided to take a crack at making them. It’s quite easy really–you just have to steam them! And honestly, making bao buns from scratch is not on my calendar at the moment. If I ruined the fantasy, just imagine I made them. To go with the buns we made pulled pork in the slow-cooker.

So for this one in terms of cookware you’re going to need a steamer (doesn’t have to be bamboo),  a slow cooker, and access to a decent East Asian supermarket (if you’re in Barcelona I recommend Supermercado Honesto).

Ingredients for the pulled pork:

  • Lime
  • Garlic
  • Red onion
  • Ginger
  • Whole, crushed or powdered Cayenne
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Pork: I used loin but another cut that works very well is pork shoulder
  • Chicken: I like to have options so I also added chicken breast
  • A slow cooker

For fillings

  • Cilantro
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber

Topping sauces:

  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha

Method:

Grate the garlic and ginger in a bowl. Add the cayenne pepper, lime, and sauces. Finely slice the onions and set them aside.

Taste as you go to control the heat.  Adjust heat as you like.

Place the meat in the slow cooker. Once the sauce is well mixed and you’re happy with the heat, add the mix to the meat and top with the onions. Put your slow cooker on high for 40 minutes, then on low for 6-7 hours. Yes, six to seven hours on low. 

I did this before heading to work so I just left the slow cooker on. For me this was an exercise of “letting go” as I am paranoid about having my house burn down due to a forgotten electronic device. Of course, you can do this at whatever time suits you best and if you’re home.

A few hours before serving you can start getting your mise en place ready. I use a mandolin to slice radishes and cucumbers finely. What I love the most about mandolins is that they have a julienne setting which allows me to shred perfect carrot matchsticks. It’s a huge time saver and makes me look like I have dope techniques. Sorry master chef.

 

When the pork and chicken are done (after a good 6 hours), remove the lid from the slow cooker and shred the meat with a fork and mix the meat with the juices. Try a bit and if you consider it needs a little more heat or soy sauce, go ahead and add more. It’s your food, taste to your buds and your likings. Who am I to tell you what’s too much soy sauce? Unless it’s salty, don’t be salty.

Separately steam the buns. I forgot to take pictures of this, sorry about that! They cook quite quick though, at a high steam for 5-7 minutes when frozen. Go ahead and test it yourself and use your judgment. If you want a recipe to make buns from zero this one looks delicious. After all is done and ready to eat I usually invite a few friends over and have some beers or wine. You do you.

 

What I love the most about setting a bunch of ingredients on a table is the DIY element of it. Everyone makes the bun to their likings and they’re all delicious in different ways. I love that about food. I also do not like establishing a set way of eating, unless you’re adding ketchup to my food then I will politely kick you out of my house.

So here’s to blogging more and making it a priority. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I liked sharing it! 🙂

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