Tuesday 25 June 2019

Robin Gill's recipe for Suckling Pig Belly Bao, Kimchi


Robin Gill. Photo: © Paul Winch-Furness
Robin Gill. Photo: © Paul Winch-Furness
Suckling Pig Belly Bao, Kimchi. Photography © Paul Winch-Furness
Larder by Robin Gill (Absolute Press, £26). Photography © Paul Winch-Furness

Irish chef Robin Gill, owner of The Dairy in London, is on a mission to prove that traditional cooking and preserving methods can be achieved at home - and that the taste is worth the work.

Suckling Pig Belly Bao, Kimchi

Pork Belly _ 0143.jpg
Suckling Pig Belly Bao, Kimchi. Photography © Paul Winch-Furness

Aahhhh, pig belly... crispy, succulent pig belly. I sound like a dribbling Homer Simpson! But that's what this dish turns me into. A soft, white, steamed rice bun and hot-as-hell kimchi... I'm literally dribbling as I type. Our Sichuan mayonnaise is a welcome addition. Try our ginger beer recipe with this and you will be a very happy camper indeed.

Serves 6

Suckling pig belly

15g curry powder

14 black peppercorns

5g ground cumin

5g ground five spice

5g ground coriander

50ml vegetable oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 red chillies, roughly chopped

A good pinch of Maldon sea salt

1.5kg boned suckling pig belly (skin on)

500ml water


1. Preheat the oven to 150°C fan/170°C/gas mark 3-4. Put all the spices and the vegetable oil in a pan and toast the spices over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and tip the spice mix into a food processor (or a mortar). Add the garlic, chillies and salt, and blend (or crush) into a paste.

2. Rub the paste into the meat. Place the belly in a deep roasting tray with the water, cover with foil and cook in the oven for 1 and a half hours. Allow the meat to cool in the liquid.

3. Once cool, drain off the liquid, then weigh down the pork by covering with another tray and setting something heavy on this (e.g. cans of food). Leave in the fridge to press for 6-8 hours.

BAO (makes 12 buns) 1 tbsp fresh yeast

350ml tepid water

600g rice flour

75g caster sugar

3 tbsp milk powder

1 tbsp fine table salt

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp baking powder

2½ tbsp duck fat


1. Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on the slowest speed for about 20 minutes or until you have an elastic dough. Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave to rise at room temperature for an hour. The dough will puff up. Knock back the dough, then divide into 12 balls. Leave to rise again for 30 minutes at room temperature.

2. On a surface dusted lightly with rice flour, flatten each ball into an oval, then fold over to create the bao shape (an elongated half-moon). Leave to prove at room temperature until the bao puff up to at least double in size.

3. Steam the buns in a bamboo or regular steamer lined with greaseproof paper over a high heat for 11 minutes. (The bao should be eaten straight away but can be warmed gently in the oven if made ahead.)


KIMCHI (makes about 1.8kg)

2 Chinese cabbages (we use wong bok), thinly sliced

½ carrot, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 spring onion, sliced

15g root ginger, grated

Fine table salt

Caster sugar

Fish sauce

Light soy sauce

Shrimp paste

Korean chilli powder


1. Set a large mixing bowl on a set of scales and return the scales to zero. Mix together the cabbages, carrot, garlic, spring onion and ginger in the bowl. Based on the weight of the contents of the bowl, calculate 2pc salt. Add this to the bowl. Stir the mixture vigorously with your hands. Set aside for about 1 hour, occasionally mixing vigorously as before, until lots of liquid has been released.

2. Calculating from the weight of the mixture in the bowl, in a separate bowl weigh out 4pc caster sugar, 2pc fish sauce, 2pc light soy sauce, 2pc shrimp paste and 3pc Korean chilli powder. Mix these ingredients together to form a paste, then mix the paste into the cabbage mixture.

3. Pack the mixture tightly into a 2-litre Kilner jar, with all the liquid that was released. Seal the jar and leave to ferment at a warm room temperature for about 3 weeks; keep away from direct sunlight.

4. When ready, the sealed jar can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months. Once opened, use within 1 month.


Tokyo turnips or any radishes

A drizzle of vegetable oil


Lime wedges


1. Thinly slice the turnips, then soak in iced water for an hour; drain.

2. Preheat the oven to 220°C fan/240°C/gas mark 9. Remove the pork from the fridge and score the skin. Heat the vegetable oil in a large ovenproof pan on a high heat. Add the pork, skin-side down, and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the skin is golden and crisp. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes to heat the pork through.

3. Meanwhile, place 300g of the kimchi in a bowl and garnish with coriander. Slice the pork. Serve all the elements - pork, bao, kimchi and lime wedges - separately for guests to build their own buns.

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