the Pence family cookbook

Recipes Tagged with “pork”


main course beef casserole greek lamb pasta pork


  • 1 lb. thick macaroni
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes (optional)
  • 1 lg. onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lg. clove garlic
  • 2 lb. minced meat (half pork and half beef, or lamb, etc.)
  • 2 tsps dried mint, rubbed
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup grated Halloumi (or other dry, hard) cheese

For the white sauce:

  • 8 cups milk scant
  • ½ c. corn flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp grated cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon



Grease a shallow baking dish (15x13"). Break the macaroni in half (this will enable you to arrange the cooked pasta better in the baking dish later). Add macaroni to a large pan of boiling water, together with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 vegetable stock cube (optional). Boil, uncovered, until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well and put aside in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp butter to the pasta, 3/4 cup of your grated cheese, the beaten egg and 1tsp dry mint. Mix well and set aside.

Meat Sauce:

Heat the rest of your oil in a large frying pan; add your chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the mince and cook until well browned. Add the pasata and the tomato paste, the sugar, oregano, dried mint, cinnamon, the stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water, the salt and the freshly ground black pepper. Towards the end, add the parsley and remove from the heat.

White sauce:

Dissolve your corn flour in 1 cup of milk, then and1 tsp salt. Add the egg (lightly beaten), and the finely chopped parsley and lemon zest. In a big non-stick pan add the remaining 7 cups of milk and bring almost to the boil. Gradually whisk the dissolved corn flour and egg mixture into the hot milk, stir well over the heat until the mixture boils and thickens; mix until smooth and remove from heat.

Next steps:

Add half of the macaroni into your greased dish. Top the macaroni with the meat sauce and spread evenly. Add rest of the pasta over meat sauce. Pour over ¾ of the white sauce and use a fork to make sure that some of the white sauce goes through the pasta to the base of the dish. Now add the rest of the white sauce and smooth the surface, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese on top. Spread several nobs of butter equally along the surface of the dish.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden brown. Leave to stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Thai Coconut Soup

main course coconut pork soup thai untested


  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 stalks lemon grass, sliced thin
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 8 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 14 oz. cans coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ lb. white mushrooms, cut into 1/4" slices
  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, halved lengthwise, sliced into 1/8" thick pieces
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. red curry paste


Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add lemon grass, shallots, cilantro, and 1 tbsp. fish sauce; cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and 1 can coconut milk; bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Strain broth, return to pan.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Stir remaining can coconut milk and sugar into broth mixture and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add pork and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove soup from heat.

Combine lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce in small bowl; stir into soup.

Eggplant, Oyster, and Tasso Gratin

main course cajun eggplant oyster pork untested


  • 1 pint shucked oysters with their liquor
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Hot sauce
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ounces finely chopped tasso (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese, grated (1⁄4 cup)


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside. Pour the oysters into a bowl and check for bits of shell. Strain the oyster liquor through a fine sieve into a small bowl and set aside. Set drained oysters aside in a small bowl.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and whisk in the flour. Whisk in the reserved oyster liquor and stock. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Whisk in the cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring from time to time, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, hot sauce, and nutmeg. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep the sauce warm.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, tasso, garlic, sage, and rosemary. Cook until the eggplant is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the eggplant mixture into a colander to drain for 5 minutes. Stir together the crumbs, parsley, melted butter, oil, and cheese in a small bowl and set aside.

To assemble the gratin, spread about one-third of the oyster liquor sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon the eggplant mixture into the dish. Arrange the oysters in a single layer over the eggplant mixture and drizzle with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the entire dish. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Pressure Cooker Pork Belly

main course instantpot japanese pork


  • 3 green onions (we’ll use only the green parts)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 lb. (907 g) pork belly block
  • Water for cooking pork belly
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) sake
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water
  • ½ cup (120 ml) mirin
  • ½ cup (120 ml) soy sauce
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar


We will only use the green parts of the green onions (use the white parts in miso soup to go with this dish). Cut the green parts in half. Peel the ginger and slice it thinly.

On the pressure cooker, press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot and heat the oil. Cook the pork belly. You can skip this part to cut down the cooking time, but this process will render more fat and make the dish tastier.

Pour water to cover the meat, then add the green onions and sliced ginger. Cover and lock the lid. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting”. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot to stop cooking. Press the “meat/Stew” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. Cook under pressure for 35 minutes. If you’re using a stove-top pressure cooker, you won’t have the buttons to press. Just cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then reduce the heat to low to maintain high pressure for about 30 minutes.

When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode. Slide the steam release handle to the “Venting” position to let out steam until the float valve drops down, OR let the pressure release naturally (takes about 15 mins). Unlock the lid and drain the cooking water and discard the green onion and ginger. Rinse the pork belly under warm water.

Put the pork belly back in the Instant Pot and add water, sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. Mix the seasonings a little bit and add the boiled eggs. Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot and press “Adjust” once to increase the heat. Bring it to simmer to let the alcohol evaporate. Once the alcohol smell is gone, press “Keep Warm/Cancel” button to turn off the Sauté mode. Cover and lock the lid. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting”. Press the “meat/Stew” button to turn on the pressure cooking mode. Press the “minus” button to decrease the cooking time from the preset 35 minutes to 10 minutes.

When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode. Slide the steam release handle to the “Venting” position to let out steam until the float valve drops down and unlock the lid. If you have time (this is optional), press the “Sauté” button and simmer on low heat until the liquid in the cooker has reduced by half.

Serve the rice in a (donburi) bowl and pour the sauce on top. Place the pork belly and egg (add blanched green vegetable if you have any). Pour additional sauce over the meat and serve immediately.

Just One Cookbook

Steam Buns

main course chinese pork sandwich untested


  • pork belly
  • 1 cup warm water (105-115°F), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar plus a pinch
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dried milk
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Canola oil for greasing and brushing
  • hoisin sauce; thinly sliced cucumber; chopped scallions cucumber scallions (for serving)


Stir together 1/4 cup warm water with yeast and pinch of sugar. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) Whisk in dried milk and remaining 3/4 cup warm water.

Stir together flour and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a bowl, then stir in yeast mixture (do not add baking powder yet) with a fork until a dough forms. Knead dough with your hands in bowl until all of flour is incorporated. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, dusting surface and hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is elastic and smooth but still soft, about 5 minutes. Form dough into a ball.

Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, about 2 hours.

Punch down dough, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and flatten slightly into a disk. Sprinkle baking powder over center of dough, then gather edges of dough and pinch to seal in baking powder. Knead dough with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking until baking powder is incorporated, about 5 minutes. Return dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then let dough stand 30 minutes.

Cut 16 (3- by 2-inch) pieces of wax paper.

Form dough into a 16-inch-long log. Cut into 16 equal pieces, then lightly dust with flour and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 6- by 3-inch oval, lightly dusting surface, your hands, and rolling pin. Pat oval between your palms to remove excess flour, then brush half of oval lightly with oil and fold in half crosswise (do not pinch). Place bun on a piece of wax paper on a large baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Make more buns with remaining dough, then let stand, loosely covered, until slightly risen, about 30 minutes.

Set a large steamer rack inside skillet (or wok) and add enough water to reach within 1/2 inch of bottom of rack, then bring to a boil. Carefully place 5 to 7 buns (still on wax paper) in steamer rack (do not let buns touch). Cover tightly and steam over high heat until buns are puffed and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer buns to a plate with tongs, then discard wax paper and wrap buns in kitchen towels (not terry cloth) to keep warm. Steam remaining buns in 2 batches, adding boiling-hot water to skillet as needed.

Return buns (still wrapped in towels) to steamer rack in skillet and keep warm (off heat), covered.

Brush bottom half of each bun with hoisin sauce, then sandwich with 2 or 3 pork slices and some cucumber and scallions.

Gourmet, October 2007

Pork and Shrimp Won Ton Soup

appetizer main course chinese pork shrimp soup


  • ½ pound ground pork, not too lean
  • ½ pound fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped in 1/4-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sweet rice wine, such as Shaoxing rice wine (or use sherry)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon spicy Chinese bean paste, also called chili bean sauce (or use chile paste)
  • 2 serrano chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups chopped Chinese garlic chives (or use 3/4 cup chopped scallions, green and white parts)
  • 36 wonton skins, about 3 by 3 inches, available at Asian markets and many grocery stores
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • Cornstarch for dusting
  • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 8 cups good chicken broth, hot, salted to taste
  • Red pepper oil (optional)


Put pork and shrimp in a chilled mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix briefly with chopsticks, wet hands or wooden spoons. Add rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, bean paste, serrano chiles and garlic chives. Mix well to incorporate. Pan-fry a small flat patty in a small amount of oil to check seasoning; taste and adjust. Transfer mixture to a small container, cover and chill at least 30 minutes, or longer if you have time, up to 24 hours.

To prepare wontons, remove a few wonton skins from package and lay them on dry work surface. Put 1 teaspoon filling in the center of each square skin. Paint edges of square lightly with egg. Gently fold one side over the other, pinching edges together. You should a have a folded rectangle. Now pull the lower corners in toward each other and pinch together to make the traditional curved wonton shape. Place wontons 1 inch apart on a baking sheet or platter. Dust lightly with cornstarch and refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to cook.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, put a small handful of spinach leaves and about 2 tablespoons cilantro in each person’s deep wide soup bowl. When water is boiling, drop about 10 wontons into pot and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with wire bamboo spider (or a large fine-meshed sieve with a handle) and divide among bowls. Repeat with remaining wontons. Pour about 1 1/2 cups hot broth over each serving. Drizzle with red pepper oil if desired.

New York Times

Vietnamese-Style Pork Chops with Fresh Herb Salad

main course pork vietnamese


  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 4 1/4"-1/2" thick bone-in pork chops
  • 3 firm red plums, cut into 1/2" wedges
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small chile (pref. red), thinly sliced
  • 2 c. mixed herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, etc.)
  • 1/2 c. bean sprouts
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • lime wedges


Blend shallots, garlic, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, oil, and pepper in a blender. Pour into a ziploc bag with the pork. Toss and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 12 hours. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Remove pork chops, season both sides with salt, and grill until lightly charred (about 2 min. per side). Meanwhile, toss plums, scallions, chile, herbs, bean sprouts, and vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt. Serve pork with salad and lime wedges.

Bon Appetit, June 2016

Pork Chops in Pipian

main course mexican pork untested


  • 4 medium-thick pork chops, bone-in or boneless
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 8 chiles de árbol
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • ½ cup raw, hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • ⅓ cup unsalted peanuts
  • ⅓ cup hulled sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice (or 2 allspice berries)
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, lard or chicken fat
  • 1 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar


Make the sauce: Remove the stems from the chiles de árbol, and gently roll the chiles between your fingers to remove the seeds. Discard seeds. Set a bare skillet over high heat for 5 minutes, then add the chiles. Toast until they are darkened and fragrant, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Place them in a bowl, cover with 2 cups boiling or very hot water, and set aside to soak.

Return the skillet to high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion and garlic, and cook, turning occasionally, until charred, approximately 10 minutes. Put the vegetables on a plate, and set aside to cool, then slip the skins off the cloves of garlic.

Return the skillet to medium-low heat. Place the pumpkin seeds, peanuts and sesame seeds in the skillet, and cook, stirring and shaking the pan continuously, until they are toasted and fragrant, approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Put the seeds and nuts in a bowl, and stir in the cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

Put the chiles and soaking liquid in a blender with the tomatoes, onion, garlic, the nut-seed mixture and the chipotle. Purée until smooth. Add the oil, lard or chicken fat to a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and heat over medium heat until it is nearly smoking. Add the purée. It will sputter a lot. Lower the heat, and stir, cooking the mixture down to a thick paste. It will continue to sputter and pop. Add the broth to the paste, and stir, then season with the salt, sugar and vinegar, and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until it resembles a thick, creamy soup. Lower heat to a bare simmer.

Make the pork chops: Season the pork chops aggressively with salt and pepper, and dust them with the flour. Add the oil to the skillet, and heat over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add the chops, and let them cook undisturbed, in batches if necessary, until crisp and well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Set them aside to rest for 5 minutes or so. Serve a chop per person on a generous amount of sauce, with tortillas to mop it up. Extra sauce can be used to braise chicken, lamb or more pork, or as a topping for enchiladas.

The New York Times

Fried Brown Rice with Pork and Shrimp

main course chinese pork shrimp untested


  • 2 c. short-grain brown rice
  • Salt
  • 10 oz. boneless pork ribs, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • ⅛ tsp. five-spice powder
  • Small pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 8 oz large (26-30) shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin on bias
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 c. frozen peas


1. Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add rice and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, about 35 minutes. Drain well and return to pot. Cover and set aside.

2. While rice cooks, cut pork into 1-inch pieces and slice each piece against grain 1/4 inch thick. Combine pork with hoisin, honey, five-spice powder, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp in even layer and cook without moving them until bottoms are browned, about 90 seconds. Stir and continue to cook until just cooked through, about 90 seconds longer. Push shrimp to 1 side of skillet. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs to clearing and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently until set but still wet, about 30 seconds. Stir eggs into shrimp and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp-egg mixture to clean bowl.

4. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add pork in even layer. Cook pork without moving it until well browned on underside, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pork and cook without moving it until cooked through and caramelized on second side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shrimp-egg mixture.

5. Heat sesame oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add scallion whites and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to brown, 30 to 60 seconds. Add soy sauce and half of rice and stir until all ingredients are fully incorporated, making sure to break up clumps of ginger and garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low and add remaining rice, pork mixture, and peas. Stir until all ingredients are evenly incorporated and heated through, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in scallion greens. Transfer to warmed platter and serve.

Carrot Ginger Pork Buns

main course chinese dumpling pork untested


For the dough:

  • 5 grams instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

For the filling:

  • 1 cup ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large carrots, finely grated (about 4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped scallion
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced or grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon shaoxing wine

For fried buns:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • a small handful of finely chopped scallion (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds (optional)


In a large mixing bowl or mixer with a dough hook attachment, completely dissolve yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Add the flour and knead for about 15 minutes. The dough should be pretty soft and not too firm. If it seems dry, add a little more water. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it proof one hour.

Combine the first six filling ingredients and mix for a few minutes, until the meat mixture resembles a fine paste, then set aside. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the grated carrots for a few minutes until they turn color (they shouldn’t be mushy. Cook just until they’re not raw anymore). Let cool completely. Combine the pork mixture, the cooked carrots, and the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix for a couple minutes, until the entire mixture resembles a paste.

After the dough has finished proofing, turn it out on a clean surface dusted with flour. Knead for 2 minutes to get rid of any air pockets. Roll the dough into a long tube and rip off chunks of dough to make individual dough balls. They should be about the size of a golf ball for larger buns, and about half that size for smaller buns.

Take each dough ball, and with a rolling pin, roll from the edge towards the center, without actually rolling the center of the dough too much. The goal is to flatten the dough into a round circle with a thinner edge and thicker center. The difference in thickness should be about 1:2.

Add some filling to the center of each disk (about 1 ½ tablespoons for the larger buns and 2 teaspoons for the smaller ones).

You can start with a smaller amount of filling until you get the hang of the folding. The buns are folded with one hand holding the skin and filling, and the other hand pleating the edges of the dough disk like an accordion. As you fold, the goal is to make it all the way around the circle, until you’ve sealed it at the top. You’ll be making about 10-15 folds. That’s it! Once the top is closed, a bun is born. Lay the buns on a floured surface while you finish assembling them.

Once assembled, let the buns proof under a clean kitchen towel for another 15 minutes before cooking or freezing.

To freeze, lay the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the buns are frozen, transfer them to a Ziploc bag, press out as much air as you can from the bag, and freeze for up to two months. To cook, just follow the directions below as if you were cooking them fresh. The cooking times will just be a little longer!

To make steamed pork buns:

Boiling water should not directly touch the buns during steaming. Avoid sticking by brushing oil onto the surface the bun sits on or by laying down some kind of natural nonstick surface. In our case, we used corn husks, cut into little squares. Thin napa cabbage leaves will work too. If using a bamboo steamer, brush the sides of the steamer with oil, as the buns expand and might stick to the sides. The surface that the buns sit on should not be solid, like a plate for example. This will trap moisture and make the buns soggy. There should be some cross-ventilation. Make sure the lid is tight so you don’t lose any steam.

Start with cold water, and put your pork buns on the steamer. Turn on the heat to medium. Set the timer for 12-15 minutes for smaller buns and 15-20 minutes for the larger ones. To see if the buns are cooked, press the buns lightly with your finger. If the dough immediately bounces back, they’re done. Keep a close eye on them. Over-steaming will cause the buns to collapse, so cooking time is important.

Once they’re done, turn off the heat, keep the lid on, and let the buns “rest” for about 2 minutes before taking them out. Then eat!

To make pan-fried pork buns:

Pre-heat a flat-bottomed cast-iron or other seasoned pan over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl it around the pan to coat it evenly. Add the buns to the pan. Let them cook for a few minutes until the bottoms turn golden brown.

Once golden, add the water to the pan and immediately cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to medium low and let the buns steam for 7-10 minutes until all the water is evaporated.

Uncover the lid, and toss the buns around with scallion and sesame seeds. Done!

The Woks of Life