Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kong Bak Pau (Pork Slices With Steamed Buns)

My mother-in-law has been feeling a little poorly of late. Now that she has somewhat recovered, she asked if I would make her some Kong Bak Pau which she loves. Of course I gladly obliged.

I was really busy this week, so I bought the steamed buns from the supermarket instead of making them.

As such, the only "work" that came with making this dish was the pork marinade/preparation. And that too, was quite straightforward. 

I made a large portion for dinner tonight. It was nice to have something different for a change - an Oriental hamburger, if you will. I steamed the pork for a tad longer so that the meat would be more tender. 

Take heed though, eat this only once in a blue, blue moon. This is one dish that celebrates the fat AND the skin! Yup, calories and fat galore! You have been warned ;)

(my own as well as some adaptation from here)
- 700g pork belly
- 2 tbsp dark sauce
- 3 tbs oyster sauce
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tbs ketchup
- 1 tbs of Hua Tiao wine or other good alcohol
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 small lump rock sugar
- pinch of of salt
- 2 bulbs of garlic
- 2 large slices of ginger
Some people add 5 spice powder, cloves or star anise. It's up to you. My children don't like the taste of these, so I omitted them. 

1. Wash the pork and blanch it in boiling water for about 1 min. This will remove odour and 'clean' the meat. Allow it to dry.

2 Using the tip of a knife, poke the skin side of the pork. Make many superficial pokes. 

3. In a skillet, heat up some oil (I added a splash of sesame oil to my vegetable oil). Pan fry the pork all sides for about 1min each, especially the skin. Make sure the meat is lightly browned.

4. Allow to cool and drain of excess oil.

5. Cut meat into slices of about 1cm thick and about 5cm wide. Put them together with all the ingredients and mix throughly till well coated.

6. Leave in fridge to marinate for at least 3 hours. I marinated mine for 5 hours.

7. When ready to cook, remember to take the chill off the meat first.

8. Place meat in a plate or tray. Discard all the garlic and ginger, but pour the marinate sauce over the pork. I used a pressure cooker, so I placed the meat in a metal baking tin and pressure steamed for only 40mins. The meat was really tender by then. However, if you are using the conventional method of steaming, I think you would need to steam for at least 1 1/2 hours to get the meat really tender.

9. Just before eating, steam the mantou for 5-8mins until soft and hot. Put a pork slice in each mantou (like a burger!) and drizzle with some sauce. Eat immediately.


  1. Do you know Martha Stewart loves kong bak pau? I saw it on one of the episodes where she had a Korean American chef whip up kong bak pau. except he tweaked the dish by using that sweet Peking duck sauce {hoisin?}. She said she could devour a few at one go!

  2. Hello, it's me, Gayle, again. I'm trying this recipe out today. The pork is marinating as I type. I've done kong bak before, but I've always braised/stewed it for 2 hours, never steamed.I shall try steaming today. (So much more convenient, not having to constantly watch the braising lest in burns). When you pressure steam, do you steam it, but in a pressure cooker? Cos that's what I'm gonna do. Never steamed in my pressure cooker before, but it's worth a shot.

    Just a clarification, when you say tablespoon, you mean the spoons we eat off in Singapore, right? Because for ang mohs, tablespoon means...a bigger spoon. And the spoons we use at home are dessert spoons for them. Anyway, it's too late, I've marinated already, using dessert spoons - anyhow, I have a bit less pork than 700g, so should be ok.

    Oh, and just yesterday, I found a bottle of Fu Chung bean curd. I shall try out the har cheong kai soon too!

    Thanks again.


  3. Hey Gayle, yes I steamed in a pressure cooker ... using a metal cake tin! Cos I was not sure if my crockery could withstand the pressure. Second, when I say tablespoon, I am referring to the baking tablespoon, not the makan spoons we use in SG. Those, as you rightly mentioned, are dessert spoons. However, these are estimates, so a little more or less won't make a huge diff. Hope the dish turns out well for you! :) Sometimes, it takes a few trials before you fine-tune the recipe to your liking. So, try and try!

  4. Can you please share the pau recipe? I can't find any ready bun in our chinese shop in our town in the UK. Thanks.

  5. Anon: I'm so sorry, I don't have one. I was going to scour the Internet for a recipe, but since I was too busy, I took the easy way out and bought ready-made pau. I would imagine that the pau recipe would be very similar to any steamed mantou recipe. Perhaps you might want to google for that? Apologies for not being much of a help :(