Sunday, July 14, 2019

Pork Bulgogi Baos

Summer in the kitchen should be about cool food. Or something that's served at room temperature. So I sweat the prep to enjoy the rarified air when we eat. Bulgogi is usually made with beef or chicken. I attempt it with boneless pork spare ribs. The marinade is robust, a blend of roasted sesame seeds, scallions, garlic and soy. It works best when the meat is marinaded overnight. A shorter soak should be adequate as well. 

As the bao making process is complicated, mine are conveniently store bought. Frozen baos steam on a rack over simmering water. I use frozen Peking Duck pancakes bought from a Asian grocery store. They are thinner than Korean baos but delicious all the same.  Carrot and cucumber is pickled in rice vinegar and sugar. The ribs cook over indirect heat on a gas grill. All the hard prep is done. Back into the air conditioning, in time to enjoy lunch.

Serves 4-6

2 lbs boneless Pork Spare Ribs

Marinade for pork
2 tablespoons toasted Sesame seeds
6 Scallions
4 Garlic cloves
5 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
2-3 tablespoons Water

2 Carrots
1 small Cucumber
2 teaspoons Rice Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

10-12 frozen Baos or steamed Chinese Buns
Hoisin Sauce
Cilantro sprigs

Blend all the marinade ingredients well.

Place pork in a nonreactive bowl and pour marinade over it. Massage the marinade into the pork. Cover and marinate the pork for at least 6 hours or overnight for best result. allow pork to come to room temperature for an hour before you start grilling.

Cut carrot and cucumbers into 2 inch long thin strips. Place in a bowl.

Add rice wine vinegar and sugar to veggies. Mix well and let them sit for 30 minutes to pickle.

Heat grill to high. Turn off the middle burner.

Oil the grates and place pork in the center. Close grill cover and cook for 8 minutes. Then flip the pork and cook another 8 minutes. Move the pork to the sides and grill for an additional 2-3 minutes. Take pork off the grill and allow it to rest for a few minutes. Slice pork thinly.

While pork grills, heat a saucepan with water. Place a steamer basket in the pan. Line the basket with wax paper. Arrange 5-6 frozen buns on wax paper. Cover and steam for 5 minutes till buns are soft. Keep buns warm. Repeat for the next lot of buns or proceed as needed.

To assemble baos, spread hoisin sauce or Sriracha on warm bun. Place a few slices of pork in the bao. Top with pickled carrots and cucumbers. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and take a big bite!

Sunday lunches are the bees knees, especially when you have Rehan and Tammie at the table. Beer bottles clink, baos are packed till bursting, travel tales are shared. We are blessed.