In a few recent posts, I’ve mentioned that my husband and I went a less than traditional route this Thanksgiving. Instead of the usual turkey and stuffing combo, we decided to make a variety of our favorite Asian dishes instead. We still had a turkey to cook, but I bought a pork belly too so we could do something more exciting.
Here’s a preview of (a bit of) the spread we put out:
We started with a batch of scallion pancakes, then moved into turkey yakitori meatballs. To do the meatballs, we removed the dark meat from our bird and ground it. We seasoned the meat with minced garlic, ginger and shallot, rolled the mixture into balls and chilled it until it was able to stay on the skewers. My husband totally gets props for lighting our charcoal grill in the cold just to cook off twenty meatballs. That, my friends, is true dedication. And his balls were very, very tasty. *Ahem.
I only got two pictures because I was too busy stuffing my face:
Next up was turkey sam bo — we roasted the turkey breasts and served them with lemongrass and ginger rice, butter lettuce and “dippy” sauce. I did a simple salt and pepper rub on the breasts so I could enjoy turkey and cranberry sandwiches later that week (yes, I also made some cranberry sauce — it would have felt wrong not to).
But the real darling of the evening was the pork belly steamed buns. I never wanted to stop eating them! In fact, it was hard — really really hard — not to keep eating until I dropped into a pork fat-induced coma.
The project started the day before when I did some quick pickles, which are a necessity when you’re eating something as rich as pork belly! I did cucumber slices and julienned carrots, both in a combo of sugar, rice wine vinegar and water.
The next afternoon, we began making the steamed buns — straight from David Chang’s cookbook Momofuku. We’ve made this recipe once before but I’d forgotten how delicious the buns come out — they are tender with just the right amount of chew.
And they are a snap to make. Once you have the dough ready to go, portion them into 25-gram balls. Roll the balls out, more in an oval shape than a circle. Once they are rolled out, fold them so they look like this:
Then set up your steamer:
And steam for about 7 minutes, until they are puffed and cooked through:
Next we took our pork belly, which had been roasted the day before, and cut fat slices off of it. They just needed a quick sear to get nice and crispy on the outside. They should be juicy and fatty and delicious on the inside. It’s like the best bacon you’ve ever eaten.
Then it’s time to get everything together:
Make a sandwich:
And in case you were curious, steamed buns make the absolute BEST post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. The texture is perfect — soft yet chewy. Plus they are a great size for snacking — I ate a ton of these the weekend after.