March 13, 2011 § 7 Comments
This is by far the most exciting project I have undertaken.
Last week, I had a lovely dinner with some friends at Ippudo. It was one of my friends’ first times (EVER!) having the hirata pork buns at Ippudo, and needless to say, he was HOOKED from the first bite and proceeded to have 5 more. Buns. If I could, I would have had ten on my own, but I had to save room for my ramen.
This week while I was browsing the aisles at my Super H-Mart, I found pre-made buns in the refrigerated section that were exactly like the ones at Ippudo. I knew I had to try making my own version of pork buns at home.
Now, I have to confess, I have never had the pork buns at Momofuku. And when I tried looking for a recipe to mirror the awesomeness of Ippudo’s buns I couldn’t find anything, so I relied on my memory to fuse the Momofuku recipe with my recollection of the Ippudo bun, hence – Ippufuku Pork Buns!
These were delicious. I barely even had time or enough sanity to take a picture of the final product because as soon as I assembled one, I ate it without even taking a breath! Then I remembered and I took a hasty photo.
To make it an Ippudo/Momofuku hybrid, I added iceberg lettuce along with the pickled cucumbers, and I mixed sriracha with hoisin. I skipped the mayo, because I think the fat from the pork belly was rich enough. It was glorious.
I know, I know, I am cheating by not making my own buns from scratch, but I read that even Momofuku outsources their buns! And I know that whatever I could make (with WAY too much effort) would never turn out half as good as the ones I bought, so I would much rather pay the $3.29 per package and save myself the grief of monitoring dough.
Ippufuku Pork Buns Recipe
(Adapted from David Chang)
3 lbs thick-cut, unsliced skinless boneless pork belly
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup organic sugar
5 cups water (divided 4 cups, 1 cup)
Stir together kosher salt, sugar, and 4 cups water until sugar and salt have dissolved. Put pork belly in a large sealable bag, then pour in brine. Carefully press out air and seal bag. Lay in a shallow dish and let brine, chilled, at least 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 300°F with rack in middle.
Discard brine and put pork, fat side up, in an 8- to 9-inch square baking pan. Pour in 1 cup water. Cover tightly with foil and roast until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 450°F, then roast until fat is golden, about 20 minutes more. Cool 30 minutes, then chill, uncovered, until cold, about 1 hour.
Cut chilled pork across the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Chill slices in pan juices, covered, while making buns.
Pickled Cucumbers Recipe:
2 Kirby Cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced
3 teaspoons of organic sugar
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Heat sliced pork (in liquid in baking dish), covered, until hot, 15 to 20 minutes.
Brush bottom half of each bun with hoisin sauce, then sandwich with 2 or 3 pork slices and some cucumber and scallions and a crisp slice of iceberg lettuce.
Equal parts hoisin and sriracha, mix well.
I hope you enjoy this!