|The slider phenomena hits our home kitchen with much tasty results - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I thought of this recipe months ago, while visiting my parents in Hawaii. It's the land of kimchee and all things pickled, often served with some savory meats. It doesn't take culinary rocket science to mash those things together into a moment of "duh," and have a kimchee/pulled pork lightbulb blink on over one's head. I had been cooking out of Andrea Nguyen's Asian Dumplings book lately, and her ju bao (baked bun) recipe has been a favorite. A sticky, milky yeast dough, it makes for some attractive buns -- no naughtiness intended, unless you like a giggle or two -- and instead of filling them with pulled pork, I decided to make a batch totally plain and just split them to use for the kimchee pork sliders.
They make for great little buns, but they are oily little buggers. You wouldn't think it to look at the innocent little flaky gems, but I guess that flakiness has to come from somewhere -- pure, delicious oil! Once cooled, I stored them in brown lunch sacks, and the oil from the dough really made quick work of the bags. It made me think of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer is trying to become medically obese to permanently work from home, so the wily talents of Dr. Nick (Hey, everybody!) encourages a diet where any food that renders a piece of paper as clear as glass from the oil is A-OK for Homer's new meal plan. The brown paper sacks filled with these flaky buns that soon became transparent made me long for washing oneself with a rag on a stick. If you've seen the episode, you're probably laughing, but if not, you're most likely recoiling in horror at the thought of such a thing. But don't be scared. These little baked buns couldn't have been more heavenly.
|Delicious, rich ju bao - innocent until you place them in a brown paper sack - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Health concerns aside, I moved forward, using the slow cooker on a three pound cut of pork shoulder, letting it cook down until it was shreddable-soft. and mixed it with some fermented bean paste and soy sauce. I took a whole bottle of kimchee, chopped it into smaller pieces and mixed it with a store-bought mix of cole slaw of shredded broccoli, carrots and cauliflower, as they're more hearty, colorful, and our food processor motor decided to crap out on us. It's prepared bags of veggie shreds for the time being, until I get a new kitchen shredder. Each little bun was split and stuffed with the slow cooked and seasoned pork, and a heaping bit of the kimchee slaw.
Once, twice, three times a pork slider dinner. It was nice to take on a restaurant trend in the comfort of one's own home, mostly because it meant there were several platefuls of these things to pick on for a few days. The nice thing about an UnRecipe like this is, you can do whatever you want with them, filling it with whatever your craving, be it mini burgers, Sloppy Joes, or yes, kimchee and slow-roasted pork.