These Asian pulled pork buns are the ultimate comfort food that is both good for you and is loaded with exciting flavours of the East! Don’t skip the slaw; it takes the flavour even further!
Every Sunday night when we are hitting those “end of weekend blues”, we crave a bit of comfort food that will give us confidence that we can get through yet another work week and somehow survive. We don’t always act on those urges for a number of reasons; no ingredients at home, too rich, too time consuming, you name it! But sometimes we do!
Pulled pork buns came up several times in our conversations lately but as you can imagine they are not something you can whip up on a whim. They take planning and hours of cooking, so after Brad had mentioned for the umpteenth time how much he’d been longing for a good pulled pork bun I decided to plan ahead.
Yes, a little planning was indeed needed. This recipe was inspired by Vietnamese Banh Mi and was originally meant to be served and photographed in a baguette but the morning I set aside to take photos I realised the last baguette was sent to school in the form of a lunch, so I was stuck with these buns. Not to worry, the buns are not the problem since ‘banh mi’ simply means ‘bread’ or ‘sandwich’. However I recommend using very hearty bread like these ciabatta buns or mini baguettes as the pulled pork is very juicy and will soak your buns right through if you use something less sturdy!
This recipe calls for many ingredients as Asian recipes often do, however very little skill is required since most of the flavour comes from the low and slow cooking process and the beautiful marinade. I said most of the flavour but not ALL because the carrot, zucchini and radish slaw in a peanut dressing add a much needed crunch and vibrancy, not to mention the sriracha mayo!
We live in England and our summers are not something you can describe as “blazing hot” but we do get patches of hot weather when I can’t even imagine turning an oven on. Unfortunately or fortunately for this pulled pork recipe, lately we’ve had a string of bleak and sunless days, which could only be helped by bold and vibrant flavours. Don’t you agree?
As I’d mentioned earlier these Asian pulled pork buns are inspired by Vietnamese Banh Mi but I can’t say they are really authentic. I used the principles of banh mi, which is really a fusion of Vietnamese flavours and French style of eating. That is why you see luscious pulled pork cooked in a true Asian style and zesty pickled vegetables but served with very French things like bread and mayonnaise.
I’ve also combined a few regions here, so not pretending it’s authentic anything would be silly but try it and tell me if it’s delicious or not because in one thing I am certain is its incredible flavour!
***This recipe for Asian pulled pork buns makes enough to serve to 8-10 people. The pulled pork freezes beautifully, and it is just as delicious as leftovers, however the carrot, zucchini and radish slaw needs to be finished on the same day as it gets too watery and doesn’t keep well.
Finally I have an exciting announcement! I’ve started a Facebook Group, where everything who loves to cook is invited. The idea behind the group is to share dinner ideas that are quick and delicious. It is a great space to share your food photos, your tips and tricks and of course your latest Vikalinka creations. So often you tell me that you would love to show me a photo but it’s impossible to do in comments. This group is your chance to show off your culinary creations! Click this link and get invited to the Vikalinka Friends Facebook Group!
- 125ml/1/2 cup soy sauce
- 100ml/1/3 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 75 ml/1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tsp five-spice powder
- 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
- 1 head garlic, smashed
- 3 kg/6 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed of visible fat
- 1 medium carrot, cut in matchsticks
- 1 small zucchini, cut in matchsticks
- 5-6 radishes, cut in matchsticks
- 2-3 spring onions
- ½ cup/20g cilantro/coriander, chopped
- 2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
- 1 red chilli, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- ½ lime, juice only
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp sweet red chilli sauce
- 8-10 buns
- In a large bowl combine all marinade ingredients, then trim the pork shoulder of all visible fat and marinade overnight or at least for 2 hours in a fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 300F/165C. Place the marinated pork shoulder in a roasting pan and pour the marinade over it. Cover with aluminium foil and cook for 3.5 hours, check every hour and baste with the juices from the bottom of the pan.
- At the end of the cooking time uncover and cook for 30 minutes longer. The meat should be easily pulled apart by a fork.
- Shred the pork with two forks directly in the roasting pan and mix the meat with the juices. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm until ready to assemble the sandwiches.
- Cut carrots, zucchini and radishes in matchsticks using a mandolin or a sharp knife. Mix in a medium-sized bowl together with sliced spring onions and chopped cilantro.
- In a small bowl combine the dressing ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until ready to assemble the buns.
- Split the buns in half and slather with sriracha mayo, pile on Asian pulled pork and carrot, zucchini and radish slaw. Serve immediately.