• Pork Cheeks and Sauerkraut Bao Buns

Pork Cheeks and Sauerkraut Bao Buns

Pork_Cheek_Sandwich_1 Pork_Cheek_Sandwich_2

Pork Cheeks and Sauerkraut Buns


  • fennel seeds - 1 tablespoon
  • mix of red, white and green peppercorns - 1 teaspoon
  • garlic - 3 cloves
  • five spice powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • sea salt - 1 teaspoon
  • olive oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Dijon mustard - 2 tablespoons
  • pork cheeks - 2 lb.
  • vegetable oil - 3 tablespoons
  • yellow onion - 1 medium, finely chopped
  • caraway seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • sauerkraut - 1/2 lb
  • bay leave - 1
  • brown sugar - 2 teaspoons or too taste
  • freshly ground black pepper - too taste
  • sugar - 1 tablespoon
  • lukewarm water (about 105 F) - 1 3/4 cup
  • dry yeast - 1 tablespoon
  • bread or all purpose flour - 6 cups + more for dusting
  • baking powder - 1 teaspoon
  • salt - 1/4 teaspoon
  • scallion - 1/4 cup, chopped
  • cilantro - 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Sriracha - too taste


  1. Toast the fennel seeds and mix of peppercorns in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes. Pound them together in a pestle and mortar with sea salt, five spice powder and garlic to make a paste
  2. Mix with olive oil and mustard; rub all over the pork cheeks. Cover and chill, leaving to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
  3. Put the sauerkraut in a large colander and wash with cold water to reduce the sourness. Drain and set aside.
  4. Preheat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy bottom deep skillet. Cook the onion until soft, add the sauerkraut, bay leaves, sugar and caraway seeds. If you feel like you want to make the taste of the sauerkraut a little more bright, just add a splash of red wine vinegar. Cover with a lead and let to cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Season to taste with black pepper.
  5. When ready to cook the cheeks, heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Cook the cheeks until they browned on both sides, flipping only once or twice.
  6. Remove with tongs as cheeks are browned; place in the oven proof dish and cover tight with a foil.
  7. Preheat oven to 325 F. Roast the cheeks for about 2 1/2 hours or until very tender. Allow to rest for 20 min. Carve up into slices.
  8. Meanwhile, cook the buns. In a medium bowl, dissolve the sugar in lukewarm water and add the yeast. Let the yeast stand for about ten minutes or until it becomes foamy.
  9. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the baking powder, salt, oil, and the yeast liquid. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until it comes together like dough. If the dough is dry, add a little bit of water. If the dough is too wet, add more flour. Knead the dough in a bowl until smooth and elastic.
  10. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour or two until it has doubled in size. Cut 24 even squares of parchment paper, two 1/2-inches aside. Punch the risen dough to release the air; knead until it is smooth and elastic.
  11. Sprinkle clean work surface with the all-purpose flour. Place the dough on work surface and cut into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and keep all balls loosely covered with clean kitchen towel. You'll work with one ball at a time, keeping the rest covered. Roll out each ball into 4 1/2 inch circle. Fold the circle in half to create a bun shaped. Place on a parchment square. Keep covered with the kitchen towel to prevent drying out.
  12. Repeat with remaining dough. When already, let them rest for 20-30minutes under the kitchen towel. Then transfer to your steamer; steam for 10 minutes. You'll have to steam in a few batches (avoid overcrowding the buns)
  13. To serve, carefully open each bun, put a few slices of pork cheeks and top with the sauerkraut. Add a bit of chopped greens and Sriracha, if desired.

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