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pulled pork belly buns with chancham marinade.

Created by sisters Chani and Chami, the unique Sri Lankan flavours of chancham sauces include the spice tamarind, mildly smokey, hot jerk and zingy chilli marinades, as well as their infamous pepper sauce. Made in britain to a classic bajan recipe, the sought after pepper sauce began it's roots in the family run cafĂ©, before it's popularity saw it to the production line. A fruity and fiery combination that can be added to everyday dishes as well as used as a dip or condiment, this is not for the faint hearted. 

As a self confessed spice wimp, I began my chancham taste testing with the spiced tamarind as it only had 2 and a half chillies on the 5 chilli scale...

Shopping list.
For the pulled pork belly
♥ 300g pork belly
♥ 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
♥ 1 stick of lemongrass
♥ 1 inch of fresh ginger
♥ chancham spiced tamarind marinade

For the steamed buns (makes six) 

♥ 200g strong flour, such as “00” 
♥ 7g dried yeast powder 
♥ 1/2 tsp baking powder 
♥ 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
♥ 5g caster sugar 
♥ 20g butter 
♥ 100ml water, room temperature 
 ♥ a splash of milk

To accompany

♥ sliced cucumber
♥ sliced spring onions
♥ soy sauce
chancham pepper sauce

Equipment: mixer with dough hook, rolling pin, bamboo steamer, pressure cooker.

Step one. Make the buns as in this chinese steamed buns recipe where i filled them with a pumpkin and coriander mix. They will need at least 2 hours to prove and prepare, so you can do this as the same time as you slow cook the pork.

Step two. Marinate the pork in the chancham sauce for a least 15 minutes. 

Step three. Cook the chopped garlic, ginger and lemongrass in the pressure cooker pan. Add in the pork to sear, as well as a little more spiced tamarind marinade if you like it hot.

Step four. Pour over water until the pork is covered.

Step five. Cover and seal the pressure cooker lid. keep on a medium to high heat. When your pressure cooker indicator shows, set your timer for an hour.

Step six. In this time you should have proved your buns, although they are fine to save for a day before steaming. Likewise, the longer you leave your pork the more tender it will be, although it is surprising how much a pressure cooker speeds up the process.

Step seven. When you're ready to serve pull apart your pork with two forks. Simultaneously, steam your buns over boiling water for 10 minutes.

Step eight. Serve the elements immediately, allowing diners to pick and choose their fillings and sauces.

What are your favourite fillings for chinese steamed buns? Do you have a sauce or condiment you just can't live without?

note: i was sent some chancham sauces for purposes of review. all opinions and recipe ideas are my own.


  1. This sounds amazing! I'll confess I've never had chinese steamed buns but they look really good so I might have to give your recipe a go!
    I'm not usually too into sauces but am currently trying any spicy sauce I can find to make boring salads at work more appetising! :) x

    1. They are lovely and squishy! Can be packed with whatever you fancy :) If you like spice then that pepper sauce is for you - like Tabasco heat but more interesting xx

  2. My other half has got a real taste for steamed buns since we tried them on holiday in Vietnam - I'll have to have a go at making these for him!

    1. I feel like I have an addiction to them too! Also tried with salmon and coriander - but the choices are endless! xx

  3. I make a Thai-style filling using pork mince, soy, fish sauce, lemon grass, peanuts etc, to fill my pork buns, but I have to say the buns themselves end up being a bit doughy and heavy, I'm going to try your recipe, they look much better than mine! - Jon (also in Ashby!).