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Pork Asado in Steamed Buns – Instant Pot + Stovetop

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While my head was buried in work, these Pork Asado in Steamed Buns and my Instant Pot saved dinner and lunch for us.

 I marinated a slab of pork shoulder and poured everything inside the Instant Pot to cook in the pressure cooker setting. Within 25 minutes, the pressure cooker yielded a slab of pork which was soft, tender and succulent enough to be sliced and encased in steamed buns I got from the Asian grocery. If you don’t have an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker, no worries because I posted a traditional way to cook the pork shoulder  on the stovetop, in the recipe instructions.

When I’m busy, I never hesitate to take up others who offer to help. For instance, when friends at Tuttle Publishing offered to send me a couple of cookbooks, I was delighted. One of these beautiful cookbooks was Bee Yinn Low’s Easy Chinese Recipes. It is a treasure trove of ‘family favorites’ as the cookbook cover promises.

For centuries, Filipino food has had strong Chinese influences in many dishes, so cooking from Bee’s cookbook is like having an old friend around in the kitchen. For this dish, I got inspiration from two recipes in her cookbook and combined them into one glorious feast that was not difficult at all to do.

The white steamed buns can be easily purchased at Asian markets. They are already pre-steamed. They come in semi-oval individual shapes in plastic bags. They’re either pre-sliced or whole. Prepare them by steaming for a few minutes stove-top. Or you can microwave them between damp paper towels.

The pork shoulder was stewed in a blend of soy sauce, broth, star anise, brown sugar and seasonings. Filipinos are familiar with this flavor which is like the sweet-savory pork filling for pork siopao asado which has a fragrant, hearty aroma. If you cook pork shoulder this way, you have many alternative options you can serve it with:  in steamed pork buns, as a filling for bread rolls, as a topping for rice or noodles, or to stir-fry with vegetables. As I always say, life is good when a scrumptious meal is easy to cook just like this one.

Pork Asado in Steamed Buns - Instant Pot + Stovetop

These Pork Asado in Steamed Buns cooked in the Instant Pot or stovetop make a good meal or hearty snack. The sweet-savory pork was cooked till it was tender. Then I sliced it and filled pre-steamed open-faced white buns. The robust flavors of the tender pork pieces paired well with the simplicity of the soft, billowy buns. This is the kind of meat bun that can transcend from a heavy merienda (snack), to a lunchbox treat, or dinner entrée. In the recipe, I'm sharing how to cook the pork either in the Instant Pot or stove-top. This Asian in America blog post by Elizabeth Ann Quirino was inspired by recipes from the Easy Chinese Recipes Cookbook by (Tuttle Publishing). Serves 2 to 4.
*Cooking time indicated is for the Instant Pot.
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Merienda
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Filipino
Keyword: Pork Asado Steamed Buns Instant Pot
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 103kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Instant Pot (or any multicooker) : 6 quarts or 8 quarts
  • Large stockpot - if cooking stovetop


  • 1 pound pork shouder, fat trimmed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon shao xing rice wine
  • 2 to 3 cups broth, chicken or beef
  • 1 pod star anise, sangke to Filipinos
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided, use 2 for pork in stockpot, the rest for braising
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 4 whole large pieces, steamed buns, sliced in half, store bought
  • 1 whole medium-sized cucumber, peeled, sliced
  • 1 whole medium-sized red or green bell peppers, seeded, sliced in strips
  • 3 stalks scallions, chopped divided, use 1 for stockpot, rest for garnish
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, for braising


  • To cook the pork asado in the Instant Pot:  (Option 1)
    In the inside pot of the Instant Pot, combine all the ingredients together: pork, soy sauce, rice wine, broth, star anise, brown sugar, 2 cloves garlic, salt and black pepper.
  • Secure the lid. Check that the cooking pressure is on High and the release valve is set to Sealing.
  • Select Meats/Stews and High Pressure for 25 minutes.
  • When cooking is complete, use a quick release before opening the lid. Click Cancel to turn off.  Carefully open the lid. Using a long cooking spoon, stir the ingredients. Remove the pork from the inside pot to shred on a cutting board. Set the pork aside.
  • Pour out the liquid broth and set aside.
  • To the inside pot, add the vegetable oil. Click Saute to heat up oil.
  • After oil heats up in 1 to 2 minutes, saute the remaining garlic. Return the shredded pork and braise for 5 minutes till meat browns. Pour a cup of the liquid back to the sauteed pork. Click Cancel to turn off. Pour the pork and liquid sauce in a bowl to cool down.
  • To steam the buns: Fill the bottom of the inside pot with 2 cups of water. Place the silicon or metal trivet on the water. Place the pre-sliced, pre-cooked steam buns in the steamer basket. Lower the steamer basket on the trivet.
  • Close and secure the lid. Check that the valve is set to Sealing.
  • Click Steam and heat the buns for 5 minutes. When done, click Cancel. Do a quick release to set off steam. Carefully open lid. Use a pair of metal tongs to take out the steamed buns.
  • When buns have slightly cooled, fill with shredded pork asado. Serve warm with sauce on the side.
  • To cook the pork asado stove-top:  (Option 2)
    In a medium-sized stock pot, over medium-heat, combine the pork and all the ingredients. Cover and cook till pork is tender for about 55 to 60 minutes.
  • Remove the cooked pork from the stock pot. Slice in thin shreds.
  • In a medium-sized skillet, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough after 1 to 2 minutes, add the remaining garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pork and braise for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from skillet and set pork aside.
  • Into the same skillet,pour the liquid where the pork was cooked in. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes till liquid is reduced and has a slightly thick consistency. Set aside.
  • To steam buns on the stovetop: Prepare store-bought buns by steaming them in a steamer over the stove for 10 minutes till they are fluffy.
    **Or if in a rush, wrap the buns in between damp paper towels and microwave on high for 1 minute and thirty seconds each one.
  • To assemble: If buns are not pre-sliced, slice them open. Place a cucumber slice inside the bun. Fill the pork slices on top of the cucumber slice. Garnish with scallions, bell peppers and coriander leaves. Serve warm with the sauce on the side.
  • Cook's comments:
    Star anise are known as "sangke" in the Philippines. They are seed pods that come from a shrub commonly grown in Asia. Star anise gives a licorice-like, robust, smoky flavor and aroma to the meat when cooked. They can be purchased in groceries or online sources for spices.
  • Hello, Friends! All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos and  recipe content I wrote, on your website,books, films, television shows or videos  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe or content on another website, video, news article,or media outlets mentioned above please ASK my permission, re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

Instant Pot Notes:

  • It takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before the High Pressure cooking time begins. For other brands of multicookers, please consult the product manual.
    *This is not an ad. I was not paid to endorse the Instant Pot, a multicooker brand that cooks in high or low pressure.


  • The cookbooks were a gift from the publisher. I was not paid to write about them. My opinions are my own.


Serving: 101g | Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1573mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 251IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker PotBuy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com – sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Disclosure: Instant Pot is a registered trademark of the Instant Pot Company which is not associated with this blog. I was not paid to review or endorse the brand and products used. 

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided  in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE Asian in America recipes on this blog,  my original recipes, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

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