Learn how to make crispy in shell and soft inside Chinese Hamburger-Rou Jia Mo. Rou Jia Mo is a sweet food originating from Xi'an, Shaanxi province. It features shredded braised pork or beef in a bun Mo bread.
What's Rou Jia Mo
Rou Jia Mo (bread with braised meat) originated from Shaanxi province, also known as Chinese style hamburger. It is a perfect street food with a savory filling and chewy bread (mo). Rou means pork, Jia means placing the meat between the bread and mo means bread. I have been spending my four-year university life in the city of Xi’an, where various types of Rou Jia Mo are provided at reasonable prices. But once tried, making Rou Jia Mo at home is quite easy. There are several types of Mo provided in Shanxi province, I introduced the very basic and most popular version.
Braised pork filling
Usually, pork belly is stewed with soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, ginger, and spices. The real street style Rou Jia Mo uses around 20 types of spices. But here we are just using very basic ones. In addition, the vegetarian filling can match better with the bread to present another yummy street food -- Cai Jia Mo (菜夹馍). Since it takes a long time to make the braised pork, I made a large batch this time. You can serve the remaining braised pork as a dish directly or with noodles.
How to make Mo (Bread) for Rou Jia Mo
The bread or mo is named Baijimo, usually made from semi-fermented dough and provides a suitably chewy taste. The fermentation degree of the dough will determine the final taste of the bread. I have made my dough ferment for around 15 minutes at a room temperature of around 30 degrees C because I want my buns to be a little bit softer. If you want a chewy version, ahead to the next step as long as you find your dough is beginning to ferment.
Knead the dough again once the fermentation is done to pinch the air out. Then roll the dough into a uniform long log around 5 cm in diameter. Cut the long log into 5 equal portions.
Get one portion and then shape it into another long log. Roll out and then roll up. Suck in the very ending at one end of your roll in the picture Press it down slowly as picture Turnover and roll out the dough until 1.5 cm thick. Shape it into a bowl.
Heat up a pan. Place the bowl-shaped dough in to fry until slightly brown over medium fire(less than 1 minute) so that the texture will be kept. Turn over to fry the second side.
Transfer the bread (Baijimo) to a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes so the bread are completely cooked through.
Chinese Hamburger-Pork Belly Buns
For the dough (Mo or bread)
- 200 g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
- 100 ml water , note 1
- ¾ tsp. instant yeast
The Meat Filling
- 800 g pork belly , note 1
- ½ cup crystal sugar
- 2 large onion ,cut into sections
- 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 inch root ginger , divided
- Water or stock as needed
- 1 tbsp. Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorn
- 2 star anises
- 1 small cinnamon bark
- 4 ~6 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 dried chili pepper
- 1 piece of dried tangerine peel
- 1 tsp. whole white pepper
- 1 chunk galangal ,optional
- 1 Fructus Amomi , optional (砂仁)
- 2 pieces of dried ginger , optional
- 1 piece of sand ginger , optional
- 1 nutmeg , optional (豆蔻)
- 1 Tsaoko Amomum ,optional (草果)
Other ingredients and seasonings
- Coriander , optional
- Soak the spices with hot water for 5 mins and then wrap well with a bag
To make the pork belly
- Cut pork belly into small pieces. Load wok with a large pot of water, add ginger, Sichuan peppercorn and cooking wine, cook the pork belly for 2-3 minutes after boils. Transfer out and drain.
- Add pork belly cubes in and fry until slightly seared. Transfer out and the pour the extra oil. The animal oil can be saved for noodles and soup.
- In a large pot, add pork belly, the spice bag, ginger, crystal sugar, green onions, salt, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Pour enough water to cover the pork belly. Bring all the content to a boiling and then slow down the fire to simmer for around 1 hour.
- Turn off the fire and then soak the pork belly within the soup. Reheat it before assembling.
To make the bread/mo/bun
- Mix yeast with water and set aside for 5 minutes. Add salt and oil to flour and then pour yeast water in. Mix and knead the dough until smooth. Cover with a wet cloth or plastic wrap to rest for around 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on your temperature until the dough is ⅓ bigger than the previous one. (this is just a semi fermented dough).
- Knead the dough again to pinch the air out. Then roll the dough into a long log and divide 5 equal portions.
- Get on portion and then shape it into long log with two small ends (watch the video for the detailed steps). Roll it out to a long facet. Roll the facet up and suck the very ending in one end of your roll. Press it down slowly. Turnover and roll out to a bread until 1.5 cm thick. Shape it to a bowl with a hand.
- Heat up a pan. Place the bowl shaped dough in to fry until slightly brown over slow fire. Turn over to fry the second side.
- Repeat the process to finish all the buns. Preheat oven to 190 degree C.
- Transfer the bread to a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes so the breads are completely cooked through. This helps to create a crispy shell and soft inside texture.
To assemble the bun
- Transfer the meat out and finely minced. If you like, you can add chopped coriander and cumin powder.
- Cut ⅔ of the bun from the middle. Lay minced pork and other ingredients within the bun.
- Serve warm!
This is a very well-organized website. I missed trying these 'burgers' when I was in the Xi'an Muslim Quarter. They look really good. The pork belly with skin is sometimes difficult to find.
Thanks Stephen for your lovely feedback. You can use pork belly without skin for sure.
The hamburger looks so juicy and delicious!..thanks for sharing 🙂
This optional spices, Tsaoko Amomum and Fructus Amomi, What can they be substituted with?
Each spice has its own flavors and aroma. So there is no really good substitute. You can simply skip the two.