The recipes in the Momofuku cookbook all look very simple and not-time consuming, until you take a closer look at it. Then you’ll notice that most of the recipes consist of multiple recipes written elsewhere in the book. This not only means you’ll constantly have to flip through the pages in search for these different recipes, but it also means that you better give yourself a day (or two) because it probably is going to take a while to make your desired dish. But you shouldn’t let this stop you from making them, because the recipes in the book are all mouthwateringly delicious.

I’ve made the lazy version of this dish by using store bought buns. You’ll still have to prepare the meat the night before and make sure you’ll put it in the oven in time to have enough time to let it rest in the fridge. But during the time in the fridge/oven/fridge you can easily do other stuff. So other than that, it doesn’t take much effort to make these delicious pork buns.

Recipe slightly adapted from Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan.

*I’ve used store bought buns, but if you would like to make them by yourself, there’s a recipe in the book for these buns.

For assembling a bun:
steamed bun*
about 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
3-4 slices quick-pickled cucumbers
3 thick slices pork belly
1 scant tsp thinly sliced spring onion (green and white)
Sriracha for serving

Heat the bun in a steamer. It should be hot to the touch, which will take almost no time with just-made buns and 2-3 minutes with frozen ones. Grab the bun, flop it open on a plate. Use a brush or the back of a spoon to smear the hoisin sauce on the inside of the bun. Arrange the cucumber on one side and the pork belly on the other side. Scatter with some spring onion and serve with some Sriracha.

Quick-pickled cucumbers: 
2 meaty Kirby or other pickling cucumbers, cut into 3 mm-thick discs.
1 tbsp sugar (or more, to taste)
1 tsp course sea salt (or more, to taste)

Combine the cucumber with the sugar and salt in a small bowl and toss to coat. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes. Taste: if the pickles are too sweet or too salty, put them into a colander, rinse off the seasoning and dry in a tea towel. Taste again and add more sugar or salt as needed. Serve after 5-10 minutes, or store in the fridge for up to 4 hours.

Pork belly
The recipe uses skinless pork belly, but because I love the crackling so much I’ve used pork belly with skin. This means that you’ll need to cook the pork for a longer time on high heat, otherwise the skin won’t crisp enough. I can’t remember how long I’ve had the pork in the oven, just keep an eye on it if you cook it with skin on.

The recipe below is the original one, so for skinless pork belly.

1,35 kg slab skinless pork belly
35 g course sea salt
50 g sugar

Nestle the belly into a roasting pan or other ovenproof vessel that holds it snugly. Mix together the salt and sugar and rub the mixture all over the meat; discard any excess salt-and-sugar mixture. Cover the container with fling film and put into the fridge for at least 6 hours, but no longer than 24.

Preheat the oven to 230˚C. Discard any liquid that accumulated in the container.

Put the belly in the oven, fat side up and cook for 1 hour, basting it with the rendered fat at the halfway point, until it’s an appetizing golden brown.

Turn the oven temperature down to 130˚C and cook for another 1-1,25 hours, until the belly is tender-it shouldn’t be falling apart, but it should have a down pillow-like yield to a firm finger poke.

Remove the pan from the oven and place the pork to a plate. Decant the fat and meat juiced from the pan.  Allow the pork to cool slightly. When it’s no longer hot, wrap it in aluminium foil and put it in the fridge until it’s thoroughly chilled and firm (you can skip this step if you don’t have enough time, but when you do, you won’t be able to cut neat slices – it won’t affect the taste though).

Cut the pork belly into 1cm-thick slices, 5 cm long. Warm them for serving in a pan over medium heat, just for a minute or two, until they are jiggly and soft and heated through.

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