This has been an incredibly hectic week for me, so if you’ll notice I was “away” from the blog for more than a week. While my head was buried in work, these Pork Asado in Steamed Buns and my Instant Pot saved dinner and lunch for us.
Even if I write a lot about food and recipes, I still have a tough time getting dinner cooked in time for dinner, just like any other housewife or mother. Ask my husband or my sons – they’ve arrived home to see me huddled over my laptop typing and writing furiously, while the kitchen is still cold and nothing is on the stove.
This time, I was saved by my Instant Pot. I marinated a slab of pork shoulder and poured everything inside the Instant Pot to cook in the pressure cooker setting. Within 25 minutes, the pressure cooker yielded a slab of pork which was soft, tender and succulent enough to be sliced and encased in steamed buns I got from the Asian grocery. If you don’t have an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker, no worries because I posted a traditional way to cook the pork shoulder in the recipe instructions.
When I’m busy writing, I never hesitate to take up others who offer to help. For instance, when friends at Tuttle Publishing offered to send me a couple of cookbooks, I was delighted and immediately pointed out from their website which I wanted. One of these beautiful cookbooks was Bee Yinn Low’s Easy Chinese Recipes. It is a treasure trove of ‘family favorites’ as the cookbook cover promises.
For centuries, Filipino food has had strong Chinese influences in many dishes, so cooking from Bee’s cookbook is like having an old friend around in the kitchen. For this dish, I got inspiration from two recipes in her cookbook and combined them into one glorious feast that was not difficult at all to do.
The white steamed buns can be easily purchased at Asian markets. They are already pre-steamed. They come in semi-oval individual shapes in plastic bags. They’re either pre-sliced or whole. Prepare them by steaming for a few minutes stove-top. Or you can microwave them between damp paper towels.
The pork shoulder was stewed in a blend of soy sauce, broth, star anise, brown sugar and seasonings. Filipinos are familiar with this flavor which is like the sweet-savory pork filling for pork siopao asado which has a fragrant, hearty aroma. If you cook pork shoulder this way, you have many alternative options you can serve it with: in steamed pork buns, as a filling for bread rolls, as a topping for rice or noodles, or to stir-fry with vegetables. As I always say, life is good when a delightfully scrumptious meal is easy to cook just like this one.
Instant Pot Pork Asado in Steamed Buns
- 1 pound fat trimmed pork shoulder
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon shao xing rice wine
- 2 to 3 cups organic broth chicken or beef
- 1 piece star anise sangke
- 4 cloves minced, divided, use 2 for pork in stockpot, the rest for braise garlic
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 4 to 6 large pieces store-bought steamed buns
- 1 medium piece peeled, sliced cucumber
- 1 medium piece sliced in strips red or green bell peppers
- 3 stalks divided, use 1 for stockpot, rest for garnish, all chopped scallions
- 1/4 cup for garnish coriander leaves
- 2 Tablespoons for braising vegetable oil
- To cook the pork asado in the Instant Pot: In the inside pot of the Instant Pot, combine all the ingredients together: pork, soy sauce, rice wine, broth, star anise, brown sugar, 2 cloves garlic, salt and black pepper.
- Secure the lid. Check that the cooking pressure is on High and the release valve is set to Sealing.
- Select Meats/Stews and High Pressure for 25 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a quick release before opening the lid. Click Cancel to turn off. Carefully open the lid. Using a long cooking spoon, stir the ingredients. Remove the pork from the inside pot to shred on a cutting board. Set the pork aside.
- Pour out the liquid broth and set aside.
- To the inside pot, add the vegetable oil. Click Saute to heat up oil.
- After oil heats up in 1 to 2 minutes, saute the remaining garlic. Return the shredded pork and braise for 5 minutes till meat browns. Pour a cup of the liquid back to the sauteed pork. Click Cancel to turn off. Pour the pork and liquid sauce in a bowl to cool down.
- To steam the buns: Fill the bottom of the inside pot with 2 cups of water. Place the silicon or metal trivet on the water. Place the pre-sliced, pre-cooked steam buns in the steamer basket. Lower the steamer basket on the trivet.
- Close and secure the lid. Check that the valve is set to Sealing.
- Click Steam and heat the buns for 5 minutes. When done, click Cancel. Do a quick release to set off steam. Carefully open lid. Use a pair of metal tongs to take out the steamed buns.
- When buns have slightly cooled, fill with shredded pork asado. Serve warm with sauce on the side.
- To cook the pork asado stove-top: In a medium-sized stock pot, over medium-heat, combine the pork and all the ingredients. Cover and cook till pork is tender for about 55 to 60 minutes.
- Remove the cooked pork from the stock pot. Slice in thin shreds.
- In a medium-sized skillet, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough after 1 to 2 minutes, add the remaining garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pork and braise for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from skillet and set pork aside.
- Into the same skillet,pour the liquid where the pork was cooked in. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes till liquid is reduced and has a slightly thick consistency. Set aside.
- Prepare store-bought buns by steaming them in a steamer over the stove for 10 minutes till they are fluffy. **Or if in a rush, wrap the buns in between damp paper towels and microwave on high for 1 minute and thirty seconds each one.
- To assemble: If buns are not pre-sliced, slice them open. Place a cucumber slice inside the bun. Fill the pork slices on top of the cucumber slice. Garnish with scallions, bell peppers and coriander leaves. Serve warm with the sauce on the side.
- Cook's comments: Star anise are known as "sangke" in the Philippines. They are seed pods that come from a shrub commonly grown in Asia. Star anise gives a licorice-like, robust, smokey flavor and aroma to the meat when cooked. They can be purchased in groceries or online sources for spices.
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Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot. Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com – sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Disclosure: Instant Pot is a registered trademark of the Instant Pot Company which is not associated with this blog. I was not paid to review or endorse the brand and products used.