2 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
⅓ cup star anise
2 tsp coriander seeds
2½ lb whole fresh pork side meat (pork belly)
500ml dark soy sauce
120ml rice wine vinegar
60g fresh ginger, sliced
1 head garlic, divided and bruised
4 tbsp brown sugar, packed
4 tbsp white wine
350g all-purpose (plain) flour
salt – small pinch big pinch 1 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2. Put the spices in a large Dutch oven or casserole dish over low heat and toast, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes until fragrant.
Place the pork on top of the spices, then add the rest of the pork ingredients. Cover, bring to a to simmer, and transfer to the oven for 3 hours.
For the buns, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, instant dry milk (powdered milk), and yeast. Make a well in the center and add enough warm water to make a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes. Place in a large, oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap (clingfilm), and set aside to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Knead the dough lightly, then divide it into equal pieces for the number of portions you are making. Shape each piece into a ball, then let stand for 5 minutes. Roll the pieces into oval shapes about ¼-inch (5-mm) thick. Brush one side with the oil. Fold the pieces in half and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise for 30 minutes. Steam the buns for 10–12 minutes.
Process the peanuts in the food processor until coarsely chopped, then stir in the granulated sugar.
Remove the pork from the pan, strain the braising liquid into a saucepan and reserve. Remove the skin and any unwanted fat from the pork. Cut or pull the pork into ¼-inch (5-mm) thick slices. Cover with foil to keep warm.
For the sauce, mix the cornstarch (cornflour) with the water. Stir into the strained braising liquid. Slowly bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. Boil to thicken. Taste and reduce if required. Keep warm.
Place each bun on a plate and place a portion of the meat inside each bun. Top with a 4 tbsp ladle of sauce, a spoonful of pickled mustard greens, a tablespoon of ground peanuts, and a few leaves of fresh cilantro (coriander).
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