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!
They look sooooo tasty! It's in this moments that I really want to not be macrobiotic! 😛 Keep up the good work!
Macrobiotic is really good in long term. That's why I am trying to make almost every dinner and meal at home. I am always searching for ways to keep them clean and healthy.
I can see and feel that! It's really inspiring to follow your blog, I take a lot of ideas for my daily menu 🙂 Thank you for so many good ideas! Keep up the good work!
Great Margarida. Let's celebrate yummy food together.
myriam | rhubarb! rhubarb! rhubarb!
these look wonderful! the soft bread should be really good.
To my family, this is a really good food. You should try it yourself. Both the bread and the savory filling will amaze you.
I've never heard of 'sand ginger' before. I don't think this would be available outside of China. Does it have a special taste. Of course, it's easy to get ginger here in Europe but I'm not sure about 'dried ginger' either. Could you suggest any substitute? Galangal is available in specialty Asian (mainly Thai) stores. Nice recipe.
Sand ginger and dried ginger are not necessary. The taste is very similar to Galangal. Make sure that you get the basic ones star anise, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorn, cinnamon bark and fennel.
Thalia @ butter and brioche
Wow these pork belly buns look delicious! I have never made a recipe like this before so you definitely have inspired me to do so now!
Thanks for posting this recipe. I love rou jia mo and am convinced that Shaanxi has the best street food in China. I’ve never had better. Rou jia mo everywhere plus Xinjiang style yang rou chuar done to perfection. It just makes me think of evening street food markets, lamb kabobs, rou jia mo and a few cold beers. China heaven.
I can buy decent rou jia mo outside my apartment for 5 RMB (85 cents) so I won’t be making the rou jia mo recipe. I am, however, going to try the baijimo recipe. They have this great breakfast street food in Shaanxi - which is fried peppers and potatoes, served with a fried egg and a little hot sauce or spice mix - all stuffed into the baijimo bread. You said before that you went to university in Xi’an. Do you know the name of that street food (I call it ji dan mo)? It was just amazing. I’ve been looking for that street food breakfast outside of Shaanxi for years and now, hopefully, I’ll be able to make it at home. Anyway, thank you for the baijimo recipe!
Yes, I have been living in Xi'an for 4 years attending Xi'an JiaoTong University.
That Jia Mo you mentioned is known as Cai Jia Mo which means vegetarian Jia Mo. It is a sister dish to Rou Jia Mo. The side ingredients are differ from each other (most of them are seasonal) and you can choose according to your own taste. I will post a recipe later.
Ahhh, Cai Jia Mo. OK, got it. Thanks. Any cai jia mo wouldbbe great because I love those mo buns. And this recipe looks great, for all you people thinking about making it. Rou jia mo is Western friendly and delicious.
If fact, I love Cai Jia Mo more than Rou Jia Mo. I agree that any Cai Jia Mo would be great. I really quite a lot during my university life.
Hi, and thanks for this amazing recipe. 🙂 I'm just wondering how one could make it vegetarian. Is it possible to use tofu or wheat gluten instead of meat? If so, would one cook exactly like when cooking with meat or in a different way?
Yes, you can make it vegetarian even vegan. We have vegetarian and vegan version in China, usually features cucumber, potato, sometimes tofu and shred carrots etc to replace meat. I will try to introduce this later on this blog, or you test your version in kitchen.
Thank you so much! I am currently studying for final examinations in school, so I probably won't be able to try until after them. But it would be great if you could post a vegetarian Rou Jia Mo recipe on this site that I could try after I finish them. You don't have to, but I would really appreciate it. 🙂
can you tell me something about fructus amomi? I'm from Germany and never heard something about it? Can I substitute it with cardamom or something like that? I don't think I get fructose amomi here.
Thank you in advance. 🙂
Fructus Amomi is a very popular spice usually used in braised meats in China. It can bring a unique and strong aroma to meat. I do not know whether you heard of Chinese Lushui, in which we use lots of spices like fructus amomi, star anise, clove and etc. If it is really unavailable, you can skip it. Make sure you get the basic five spices. You can check this one https://www.chinasichuanfood.com/five-spice-powder/. I have posted a picture about the commonly used spices in Chinese cuisine.
Thank you very much. I hope I will find fructus amomi to buy in the future!
You can try substituting fructus amomi with black cardamom. If you don't find it in a ordinary department store you should try the Asian or Indian stores in your place
Hi Elaine. Thanks for the recipe. One question about making bajimo. You said in step 8:
"Roll the facet up like the pictures. Suck the very ending in one end of your roll. Press it down slowly."
What does "Suck the very ending in one of your roll" mean?
Sorry that I did not express clearly. I mean you need to hide ending of the facet inside one end of the roll.
OK I think I know what you mean thank you.
I try to make the bread today and 350 g of flour to 140 mL of water seems incorrect. Maybe a typo? I had to add a lot more water.
140ml water will make a chewy taste. For a softer texture, you can add more water. But the total amount of water should be limited to 1:2. So no more than 180ml. I will note that in the recipe.
I dont think my scale is broken. but with 350 g of flour and 140 ml of water, there was still a lot of leftover powdered flour
I will try again but I am pretty sure I measured accurately.
Thanks for the information. If using 140ml water, there will be powdered flour at first. But I believe they will disappear as the kneading process going on. It's ok that you add more water. No worries.
I know that version you mentioned with cumin and lamb. I will make it when lamb is available on the market (should be in winter season). We are still having very high temperature here. I will come up a video showing the whole process of making lamb version and vegetable version. Keep in touch and thanks for bringing me valuable information.
By the way, can you tell me the usage direction of your instead yeast? I mean the recommended percentage for flour weight. Thanks in advance.
also the dough didnt rise that much when it rested. i used instant yeast. not sure if this has to do with the flour to yeast ratio.
i dont think my scale is broken. it's brand new.
And this dough should be semi-proofed, not completely proofed one. Although I made this in October, it is still over 30 degree C in my city. So you can leave the dough rest for a longer time, maybe another half hour or 1 hour. Thanks for the feedback so I know how to improve and note some tips in the recipe.
In addition, you can also add some baking soda to fast the proofing process.
you website is awesome.
i know there is also a lamb version of rou jia mo, seasoned with cumin and other things.
do you know about that? I am also eagerly awaiting the cai jia mo recipe! I hope I don't sound demanding, I just love your site!
Hi. How do I prepare a glaze and then wrapping the spices?
You can seal it as a bag using a cotton line. Just make sure the spices not going out during cooking.
Greetings from US. The recipe sounds great! I am going to try it for the first time. I am wondering if this recipe really requires 12 teaspoons of baking soda.
It is a typo and thanks for the correctness. It is 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.