So Porking Good, Part DeuxPosted: September 27, 2010
The weather in Melbourne has finally shifted into gear for spring and I’m getting ready to set aside my flannelette PJs for skimpier cotton options. As much as I have adored everything about winter, I am ready for spring.
This past weekend has been so good to me that I’m typing this with a satisfied little smile on my lips. I kicked it off with a Sophia Day, which is my favourite type of day. I wandered around Dymocks picking up novel after novel compiling another killer wishlist to add to the Book Depository but nevertheless was seduced by the words of one particular book that I had to bring it home with me immediately.
The rest of my weekend was a blur of delicious morsel after delicious morsel, and the fact that I surfaced from my food coma to type this is a testament of my strength but please pardon me while I wear elastic banded bottoms for the next two weeks. It was well worth it though, being surrounded by amazing company and beautiful food.
Perhaps one of the reasons why the weekend was so good was because we launched into it with a fantastic dinner of steamed pork buns on Thursday night. It was one of those fantastic meals where I didn’t believe I had made what I was eating because it tasted too damned good to be true.
The recipe is from the Momofuku cookbook by David Chang whose name is almost eponymous with pork, to be honest (a man after my own heart!). The recipe is available here because I am way too lazy to ever type that out.
It was pretty labour intensive for a weekday meal but if my insane persistence on making everything from scratch results in a luscious meal, you best believe this is a madness worth ignoring.
It started the night before, where a 2kg slab of pork belly was cleaned and skinned. I tried asking my butcher to remove it for me but he gave me an incredulous look that can only be described as, “Are you fucking kidding me?” that I had to do it myself. His exact words to me were, “But pork belly is not pork belly without the skin!” I hear ya, man, I hear ya. But the fat would still be left on – just the skin that’s gone. He still gave me that strange look that I had to admit defeat and allowed the pork belly to suffer at the hands of my meagre knife skills.
And by suffer I truly mean I need to apologize to the pork belly for it was skinned unevenly. Forgive me, fellow pork lovers. That was sacrilege. It was then rubbed with salt and sugar, wrapped up and abandoned in the fridge. The next day it was unwrapped and all the juices that the salt drew out was poured away.
It was then chucked into the oven while I went about the most labour intensive part, making my own buns. I definitely could have bought them but where’s the fun in that? All that labour also yielded us with 50+ buns so really, I’m not complaining.
I also pickled the cucumbers but that was so easy and quick that I forgot to photograph it.
Then the pork belly emerged from the oven and it had to rest before it was sliced into.
Jacey and I circled the pork belly like vultures, impatiently staring at the clock. Slowest ten minutes ever.
But golly, it was gorgeous on the inside.
We steamed the buns and had our set up ready.
Side note: My mum saw this picture and asked, “Why are your buns so shiny?” *immature sniggering ensues* But in all seriousness, I have no clue. Life’s Greatest Mystery #90480. Report back on findings, please.
At this point, it was getting pretty late and I was afraid Jacey was going to strangle me out of frustration because the smell of the roasted pork belly had permeated through the entire apartment and the sounds of our growling stomachs were becoming embarrassingly audible.
The buns were spread with hoisin sauce, luscious pieces of pork belly were placed within along with a few slices of pickled cucumber and thinly sliced scallions.
Then it was total silence. I think we were trying to process the party in our mouths but our brains simply weren’t catching up. I think we managed some faint “mmmmm”s.
We obviously had enough for leftovers and the next day I tried some with a few dots of Sriracha chilli sauce. Oh, man. That’s all I have to say.
Life can be so ridiculously porking good.