For the pork belly: Bring a Dutch oven
or heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil. Add the pork belly and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the pot, rinse under cold water and then dry with some paper towels. Slice the pork into 3 even pieces and set aside.
Heat a wok over high heat and add the peanut oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the pork pieces and stir-fry for about 1 minute per side to brown. When the pork is browned, add the dark soy and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate that will fit inside a large bamboo steamer with at least a 1-inch margin between the plate and the steamer.
For the sauce: In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir to combine the vegetable stock, light soy sauce
, brown sugar and rice wine; set aside. Reheat the wok and add the peanut oil
. When the oil is hot, add the ginger
, Sichuan peppercorns and star anise
and then stir-fry
for a few seconds. Add in the sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the pork.
Place the plate of pork into a steamer over a wok
or pot filled halfway with water and bring to a boil. Steam the pork
over medium heat until the pork is tender, 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Check the pot occasionally to be sure that the water hasn't completely evaporated.
Remove the pork from the steamer and transfer all of the juices from the pork into a small wok or pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir in the cornstarch slurry
. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.
In a mortar and pestle
the peanuts, or finely chop
them with your knife. Combine the peanuts
and brown sugar
; set aside until ready to serve.
Slice the pork belly. Fill each bao bun with a slice of pork and a few tablespoons of the thickened pork sauce, garnish
with the sweetened peanut crumble, Quick Cucumber and Shallot Pickle
and fresh cilantro