You know those steamed pork belly buns that seem to be everywhere in New York now, from the Momofuku restaurants to Baohaus to your neighborhood ramen place? The ones that more or less descended from Taiwanese gua bao and Japanese kakuni buns? I can practically live off these perfectly portable and juicy specimens. But in the interest of having normal cholesterol levels, I don't.
I had some leftover buns from making pork belly buns last week for my cookbook, so I decided to try a vegetarian alternative that won't leave me in a food coma after a weekday lunch. Portobello mushrooms make excellent burger fillings, so why wouldn't the meaty mushrooms be equally fine as with Chinese buns? Another bonus over pork belly is that they take about 1/5 the cooking time, just 6 or 7 minutes in the pan. I used a simpler braising liquid than I would normally use for pork belly — rice wine, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce — and topped it off with shredded scallions and peanuts, like I do for Taiwanese-style pork belly buns.
I steamed the buns in the microwave, so the total time, including prep, was about 20 minutes. They make a quick lunch or dinner, but I imagine they would also be impressive little appetizers for a dinner party.Read More