Honey balsamic glazed pulled pork buns

Crispy, salty, sweet, umami - this dish has it all. Pair with an ice-cold beer for maximum enjoyment

Makes 18-24 buns

For the belly:

  • 1kg pork belly, skin scored
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper 

For the buns:

  • 2 ¼tsp active dry yeast
  • 1cup milk
  • 1tbsp canola oil
  • 3cups flour
  • ½tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar (less if you prefer a more savoury dough)

For the balsamic-honey glaze:

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 star anise

For the belly:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2. Season the skin with fennel seeds, chilli flakes, sea salt and black pepper.

3. Place belly in the oven and roast at 200°C for 20 min. Then turn down the heat to 120°C and leave to slow roast for 2-3 hours, or until pork is tender and pulls away easily.

4. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

5. Once cool, shred the pork, removing most of the fat and keeping the meat.

For the glaze:

1. Place all of the ingredients in a small pot over a low heat. Allow the honey to melt. Bring the liquid to the boil and allow to reduce until thickened, about 5-10 min.

2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool (if syrup reduces too much and becomes too hard, add a little hot water to loosen).

3. Once cool, mix the glaze with the shredded pork.

For the buns:

1. Warm the milk and oil in a pot over low heat until lukewarm.

2. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and leave for 10 min.

3. Sift together flour, salt and sugar.

4. Trickle the yeast liquid slowly into the flour, mixing with a spatula as you go. Knead for 15 sec until dough comes together.

5. Knead dough for 5-10 min with a dough hook in a stand mixer.

6. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and leave it to rise for 1-2 hours, or until double in size.

7. Work with one bun at a time: weigh 30g of dough and roll out into a 6cm circle.

8. Place a tablespoon of pork filling into the circle and fold the dough up around the filling, pinching and pleating in a circle until the top is sealed.

10. Leave buns to proof on a tray for 10 min before steaming.

11. Line steam baskets with baking paper.

12. Fill a wok or pot with water and heat over medium heat.

13. Place the buns in the baskets, leaving space for them to expand significantly. Once water is simmering, place the baskets over the wok/ pot.

14. Steam the buns for 15 min, turn the heat off and leave to cool in the baskets for 5 min. Remove the buns and repeat the process.

15. Serve with fresh spring onion and coriander.

Enjoy this recipe with one of South Africa’s best wines, go to wineofthemonth.co.za