Coconut milk buns with pulled pork

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Francois Oberholster
Tuck in immediately.

Photographs Francois Oberholster

Makes 14 rolls

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 3 hours

Oven temperature: 180°C

  • 500g self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling
  • pinch of salt 
  • 15ml fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tin (400ml) coconut milk


  • 600g pork shoulder
  • 2 whole chillies
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green apple, chopped
  • 80ml Chinese BBQ sauce (char sui)
  • 80ml soy sauce
  • 1 tin tomatoes 
  • 60ml apple cider vinegar 
  • 125ml ginger beer


  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch basil, torn
  • a few spring onions, chopped

1. Start with the filling: Preheat the oven. Place the pork in an ovenproof dish with the chillies, garlic, onion and apple. Beat the sauce ingredients together, season to taste with salt and pepper and pour over the pork. Cover with a lid and bake for about 2 hours. Remove the lid, baste with the pan juices and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the meat shreds easily.

2. For the rolls: Mix the flour, salt and coriander and stir in the coconut milk to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Using your hands, knead the dough in a bowl until it comes together, then turn out onto a floured surface.

3. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and roll them into sausages. Using a sharp knife, cut each sausage into 7 equal pieces, then shape each piece into a roll; use extra flour as needed.

4. To make an easy-to-fill fold in each bun, insert a wooden chopstick smeared with oil along the length of the roll and form the dough gently around the stick into a fold-over. Then place a small square of baking paper into the fold to prevent it from steaming closed. Line two bamboo steamers with baking paper and pack the rolls inside. Pour boiling water about 2cm deep in a thick-based pan or wok and bring to the boil over high heat. Stack the two baskets on top of each other; put the lid on. Place the steamer over the boiling water and steam for about 15 minutes – don’t be tempted to peek! Make sure the water does not boil away before the rolls are finished steaming.

To serve: Shred the pork (remove the whole chillies and use as much sauce as desired), mix the salad ingredients and fill the rolls. Tuck in immediately.

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