Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Chinese Spiced Slow-cooked Pork Shoulder (Bill Granger) with Oat Steamed Buns

I cook almost everyday... but you know what. I'm never good in any complicated Asian cooking.

Knowing my profile, you might laughed... thinking why an Asian me is learning to cook Asian cuisines from a non-Asian celebrity chef, Bill Granger. Simple! Yup... Simple is my reason.

Bill Granger is a self-taught cook, restaurateur and food writer who is well known for his simple and yet stylish cuisine which are all artistically displayed in his shows and books. After cooking and baking a variety of his recipes, I have to say that his recipes are mostly pretty simple to cook and also pretty good to eat.

Being a learner for all cuisines, I like to use Bill's simplistic approach to learn and cook Asian food and this is one of his Chinese influenced recipes that I have attempted. In fact, this is a twisted version of an English classic pork roast using mostly Chinese ingredients resulting unbelievable wow-flavours. It is really not difficult at all to cook and all I have to do is the assemble the ingredients and roast the pork in the oven - Like I said, simple!

Eating slices of these tender pork slices with steam buns, feel like we are eating an alternative or English-Chinese fusion version of Kong Bak Pau which means braised pork buns in Hokkien dialect (also known as Chinese version of pork sliders). We reckon, these are best with generous serve of braised soy sauce...

Chinese spiced slow-cooked pork shoulder Bill Granger with oat steamed buns
Our alternative way of eating Kong Bak Pau
A classic pork roast but cooked with...
... lots of Chinese ingredients
Like all classic roasts, rub salt and pepper before roasting.
I can hear crackling sound as I removed this from the hot oven.
The whole house smelled of this wonderfully rich flavours while roasting.
Wonderfully rich braised sauce made from the very-reduced-pan sauce.
These Chinese steamed buns are made with cooked oat porridge.
Shaping the buns
The buns are ready!
Lots of thumbs up when my husband and son enjoyed this crackling skin...

Here are the recipes
(with my modification and notes in blue)

Spiced Slow-cooked Pork Shoulder from the book, Bill's Everyday Asian by Bill Granger

Serves 6-8

2kg pork shoulder on the bone

(I used the boneless one that is tied with strings)
2 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp light flavoured oil

(I used sesame oil)
200 ml light soy sauce

(increased to 250ml)
4 tbsp soft brown sugar
3 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
10 thin slices ginger
5 garlic cloves, lightly bruised with the flat of a knife
2 spring onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 240°C (or 220
°C fan forced). Score the pork rind every 1 cm with a very sharp blade taking care not to cut through to the meat. Place the pork in a deep roasting tray and rub half the salt, the pepper and the oil into the rind. Sprinkle with the remaining salt. Roast for 20 mins or until the skin is crackled.

Remove from the oven and add the soy sauce, 200 ml water
(increased to 250ml), sugar, star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger, garlic and spring onion to the tray. Reduce the temperature to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced) and cook for a further 1 hour 40 mins or until the pork is very tender. Slice and serve. 

Note: The original recipe serve slices of pork with spring onion pancakes and hoisin sauce but I served with my own braised sauce with (not the traditional but an alternative kind of oat) Chinese steamed buns.

My Wonderfully-Rich Braised Sauce

Please do not discard the heavily-reduced pan sauce after roasting. 

Transfer these thick blacken sauce into a saucepan. Add 4-5 chopped spring onions, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp water and 1 1/2 tbsp cooking caramel sauce and cook the sauce until the onions are cooked. You may add extra water or cooking caramel sauce to adjust the consistency of the sauce accordingly to your preference.

Oat Mantou adapted and translated from the book, the first book of noodles for beginners by Carol Hu

Makes 16 medium buns

Ingredients A:
50g old fashion oat
150ml boiling water
Cook all ingredients A until porridge-like. Set aside and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Ingredients B:
Oat mixture made with ingredient A
270g flour
30g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp yeast
15g sugar
1/8 tsp salt
15g oil
80ml water

(added extra 3 tbsp water while mixing the dough - I find the dough can be quite difficult to mix initially but reckon the extra water can make the dough a little too soft)

extra canola oil to brush

Using a bread maker, mix all ingredients B and knead into a smooth dough and allow it to prove for 1-2 hr or double in size. At this point, you can either store the dough in the fridge to use it on the next day or use it now.

Divide dough into 16 portions. To shape, roll each portion of dough into ball. Using a rolling pin, roughly roll it into oval shape. Brush one side with oil and fold it into half. Repeat shaping with the rest of 15 portions.

Place on steaming rack lined with baking paper or any non-stick paper and place the rack under lukewarm water (about 37°C) and let it prove for 40 mins or double the size.

Steam buns for 15 mins. At the last 3 minutes of steaming, use a chopstick to lift the cover of the steamer slightly to form a small opening.

Turn off heat immediately after steaming. Allow all excess steam to escape through the small opening for 3-5 mins. Remove the steaming racks and allow buns to rest for 3-5 mins before opening the baskets cover.

Happy Baking and Steaming
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  1. Hi Zoe
    You will sure to get another thumbs up from if I get to taste this delicious slow pork. Looking at your pork shoulder in nicely golden roasted, who wouldnt give you that extra thumbs up from your readers!

  2. Hi Zoe , gorgeous , I am pinning this pork shoulder roast to bake for Christmas , thanks for sharing:)

  3. Sorry that I'm not cooking any for this month Cook Like A Star. Lately busy with the kids. They are full day at home during school holiday :D Next week will back to my hometown, Penang. During that period no cooking n baking. More rest time for me :D
    I notice oatmeal need to be cooked before adding into bread/pau dough. Next time will try. FYI I prefer hand knead the pau dough. I can feel the texture of the dough which give me pliable dough. Kneading pau dough is a lot more easier than bread dough as do not need to reach elastic dough.
    Having pau with braised pork and sauce is delicious!

  4. That roast looks delicious Zoe! You sure did a wonderful job of combining those flavors. Thank you so much for sharing...

  5. I dont eat pork but I love the marinade that you have used

  6. Gosh that's gorgeous! The pork looks great and so flavorful. And those oat buns are different from anything I've had - look really fun. Good stuff - thanks.

  7. Hi Zoe, I'm drooling over your pork shoulder, man, looks so delicious, looks so juicy. I want to eat I want to eat!

  8. Zoe, the slow cooked pork sure sounds yum! These days fusion is the in-thing and I'm all for simplicity. Bottom line is the food tastes good!

  9. Oh wow... that looks gorgeous! My mouth waters looking at that succulent pork and don't get me started on the crackling... :) beautiful...

  10. did i ever tell you i enjoy reading your blog? every time i read it with anticipation, wondering hmm... what's coming up... i'm an asian... learning to cook but has yet to succeed... u r way better at me on this.... very pretty roast! something for my sunday brunch

  11. Zoe, your kong ba pau is definitely looking good!! With all that slow cooked pork, oh boy!! You are making me salivate and I just had lunch only. I will bookmark this recipe :)

  12. Hi, Zoe...just wondering, the net use when baking the pork shoulder comes together in the packaging when you bought it?

    1. Hi Jozelyn,

      The net that you saw in the pictures come with pork shoulder that I bought. Otherwise, I have to buy the shoulder with bones to secure its shape.


  13. The pork looks so tender and melt in the mouth! Love your home made oat buns.

  14. Wow! This is 5-star cooking, Zoe! Another awesome round-up!

  15. Zoe! This looks so fabulous. I'm salivating now.
    If my kids see it, will sure ask me to make.

  16. Zoe , I can even smell the aroma of that spiced pork here ;D It looks fantastic and I bet really flavorful ! I love the the oat mantou as well .

  17. Wow, I can imagine the yummy pork and sauce with the pau. Lip smacking!

  18. I'm not great with complicated Asian cooking either! I tend to stick to the basics.

  19. Wow, this looks incredible Zoe! The braised pork sounds wonderful with all the spices and flavors, thanks for sharing :)

  20. My favourite cut of meat! I do a lot of Donna Hay's Asian food:D

  21. What a feast, Z! Love the spices.
    Love the oat mantou buns. Never heard of them before.
    Will have to see if I can make a batch as nice as yours. xo

  22. hi zoe, no, will not laugh at long as the end results is delicious and simple instructions to follow, why not? i know that's must be really delicious eating the braised meat with steamed pau!