Updated: Jul 25, 2021
This classic Chinese street food dish is arguably the original hamburger. The focus on in this recipe is mainly on how to make the bread, however I will include a recipe of pulled pork knuckle that is fairly common to add inside. This dish is a great alternative if you want to make something slightly more unique to the classic hamburger. The buns came out perfectly in this recipe and I would definitely recommend giving them a try and fill them up with which ever you prefer! Let's get straight to it!
To make 8 buns:
380g plain flour
20g baking powder
250ml luke warm water
8g dry active yeast
10ml cooking oil
1 unsalted pork knuckle
5 spring onions
2 celery sticks
5cm piece ginger
3 garlic cloves
8-10 dry red chillis
1 tbsp szechuan peppercorns (optional)
3 star anise
20g rock sugar or brown sugar
4 tbsp honey
75 ml light soy
75ml dark soy
Start by braising the pork knuckle, firstly seal the knuckle in a generous amount of cooking oil until evenly golden brown. When ready place onto a tray with kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil. Now in a large pan dry fry 5 spring onions, 2 chopped celery sticks, 5cm piece of roughly chopped ginger, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 8 dry red chillis, 3 star anise and 1 tbsp of Szechuan peppercorns. Fry on a high heat until fragrant then add the sealed pork knuckle to the aromats.
2. To finish the braise add enough water to cover the pork knuckle then add 20g of rock sugar, 4 tbsp honey, 75ml light soy and 75ml dark soy. Bring up to the boil then turn down the heat down to medium and slowly cook with a lid on for 2.5 hours.
3. As we are waiting on the pork knuckle to cook we can now start on the dough. Begin by weighing out all the ingredients first, then add 250ml of warm water to a jug with 8g of dry active yeast and 20g of sugar. (ensure the water is not too hot otherwise it will kill the yeast, you want the water temp to be approx 36°c). Mix well and allow the yeast to activate in the warm water for around 5-10 minutes. Now in a large mixing bowl add 380g of plain flour and 20g of baking powder. Make a well in the centre of the flour then pour in the yeast mixture. Finally add 10ml of cooking oil and bring the dough together until a smooth dough is formed. When the dough is ready cover in clingfilm and allow to prove for 45 minutes in a humid area.
4. After 45 minutes the dough should now have doubled in size. Press into the dough to deflate then place onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Kneed back the dough briefly then divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into 2 long cylinders.
5. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces roughly 75g each in weight. When all the dough is cut shape each piece of dough into small balls then cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
6. To roll out the dough take out each piece then flatten with your palm. Using a small rolling pin roll out the dough into a flat oval shape roughly the size of your palm. When flat roll up the dough like a cigar to form a tight roll of dough.
7. With a rolling pin press into the roll of dough to flatten one last time. Roll out again to form a longer and thinner flat rectangle of dough. Roll up the dough one last time starting from the longer end.
8.When rolled flatten with you palm from the top to create a disk of dough again. Use the rolling pin to assist and roll out the dough until flat, roughly 1/2 cm in width.
9. When all the dough has been rolled add the dough in batches to a dry pan on a medium to low heat. Fry the dough for approximately 5 minutes either side and when golden brown place onto a baking tray and allow them to cool.
10. Now the bread has finished time to move back to the braise, after around 2.5 hours the pork knuckle should be ready. Remove from the braise and take out the bones of the knuckle. Shred the meat with a knife or pull with a fork. Add the shredded pork to a bowl and place to one side. For the braise drain a small amount into a separate pan and place onto a high heat. Reduce the braising liquid until thickened.
11 When the braising liquid has reduced, add the shredded pork back to the reduced sauce and mix. If the braise is to salty then dilute with a touch of water and if too thin then you could thicken with cornflour that has been diluted with warm water. When the filling is ready prepare the toppings for the dish and we're now ready to build the Roujiamo.
12. To serve slice the breads into half then add a good spoonful of the braised pork into the the middle. Top with sliced spring onion, coriander, sliced chilli and toasted cashew nuts. Allow the bread to soak up all that braising sauce and nourish! Hope you all enjoy this different Chinese take on a hamburger!
I must stress for the filling you want to choose an unsalted pork knuckle. If not the braise will be far too salty for this recipe. If you cant find pork knuckle then alternatively you could use pork shoulder, beef brisket, short rib, or even lamb shoulder. To cut the time down on this recipe then you could simply braise the meat in a pressure cooker. This bread is great and it almost reminds me of an English muffin. Take what ever you can from this recipe and hope you all enjoy making this unique Chinese street food dish!