Chef Roy Villacrusis Pulled lamb shank bao bun with pickled cucumber

  • Prep time 30Min
  • Cook time 2Hr
  • Technique Grill
  • Meat Lamb
  • Cut Shank
  • Serves 0

These Chinese bao buns filled with Aussie lamb shank are the perfect pass around entree.


For the Pickled Cucumber:

  • 3 Persian cucumber (or English cucumbers)
  • ½ cup garlic chives 1" cuts
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1T Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 1T Fish sauce
  • 1T White vinegar
  • 1T sugar
  • Sesame oil

For the Steamed Buns:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 4 ½ cups bread flour
  • 6T sugar
  • 3T nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1T salt
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1/3 shortening

For the Aussie Lamb:

  • 12 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 three-inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled, thickly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 1/2 T black bean garlic sauce*
  • 6 t peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder**
  • 6 large Aussie lamb shanks (about 1 pound each), excess fat trimmed
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3/4 cup dry Sherry


For the bao buns:

  • Combine yeast and water in a bowl of a stand mixer. Add all the ingredients and mix at low for about 10 minutes. When the dough forms, place it in an oiled mixing bowl and covered with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm area of the kitchen and let it rise until it's about double in size for just a little over an hour.
  • Punch the dough and divide into half. Divide each half into five and then roll them into logs.Then cut each log into about 25 grams rolled into balls. Cover the balls in a sheet pan with plastic wrap and let it rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Cut parchment little square parchment papers for base. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand and use a rolling pin to elongate it to about 4" ovals. Lay an oiled chopsticks in the middle and fold the bun into itself. Place them all back under a kitchen towel and let it rest for another 45 minutes or so.
  • In a steamer, place the buns without over-crowding and steam for about 10 minutes. They are ready to use. Cool the rest and they can be frozen for later use. Reheat them in a steamer for 2-4 minutes until soft and fluffy.

For the lamb:

  • Soak mushrooms until soften in boiling water, for about 30 minutes. Strain mixture, reserving soaking liquid for later use. Thinly slice caps. With food processor running, add ginger and garlic and finely chop. Add cilantro, black bean sauce, 2 teaspoons peanut oil, and five-spice powder. Process until paste forms.
  • Cut slits into each lamb shank, spacing apart; rub generous 1 tablespoon black bean cilantro paste into slits and all over surface of each shank.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut six 18-inch squares of aluminum foil; place on work surface.
  • Place green onions and sliced mushroom caps in center of each foil square, dividing equally. Heat remaining 4 teaspoons peanut oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add lamb shanks and cook until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Place 1 lamb shank atop green onions and mushrooms on each foil square.
  • Pour reserved mushroom soaking liquid and Sherry into same skillet. Boil until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of skillet, about 10 minutes. Spoon 2 tablespoons reduced liquid over each lamb shank, pulling up foil around shanks to prevent liquid from spilling out. Enclose shanks completely in foil, twisting foil to seal; place on large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake lamb shanks until very tender and meat falls off bones, about 2 hours. Open up foil packets; pull meat and place soak in left over strained liquid.

To assemble:

  • Gently pry open a bun and fill with the pulled lamb meat. Add the pickled cucumber and garnish with salted julienned jicama and micro cilantro.