Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Midnight Bao Quest

Fry/Steam Method
I had a HUGE urge to make bao tonight.  I've never done it before and I don't have a steamer, but the show must go on and I MUST eat bao!  I found a great online recipe for bao dough and made an ad-lib pork/cabbage filling.  I'm pretty happy with the taste of the filling.  I'll have to recreate it in the future and write down my filling recipe.  I have a bad habit of winging it w/ cooking, I don't write my measurements down.  I mostly go by taste and whatever I have at home, i.e. if I don't have lemon juice I'll use vinegar...

Here's the dough recipe from
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 14 2/3 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
For the filling I used:
(Sorry there are no measurements for these... I just starting throwing stuff in a bowl)
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • shredded/finely chopped cabbage (same volume ratio of cabbage-to-pork)
  • finely chopped garlic and ginger
  • salt, black pepper, white pepper, soy sauce
  • olive oil (I would have added sesame oil, but I ran out)
I pretty much followed the instructions on the link for the dough and then mixed my filling ingredients while the dough rises.  I made 24 smaller bao's from this recipe.  Because I don't have a large steamer I had to look for an alternative way to cook these.  I found this great video where they fried then steamed the buns in a saucepan.  PERFECT! 

A Damn Good Bao!
The frying/steaming process basically calls for you to heat up canola oil in a large saucepan then place the uncooked bao's in the pan.  Fry them until the bottom is golden brown then pour in a cup of water and cover with a lid.  Cook/steam them until you hear sizzling, remove the lid and let the excess water cook off.  The finished fried/steamed bao looks like the picture above.  Nice a crispy on the bottom and fluffy on top!  Best of both worlds!  But you need to take care and not burn the bao with frying them for too long.  I burned my first batch!

I made 24 bao's, froze half and cooked half.  I'm fully satisfied and going back to work now. :)
Bao Quest completed!  I might have to do a step by step post about this in the future.  Bao is definitely on the menu now.  It wasn't that hard and being able to freeze them makes it easy to prep for a few days worth of meals.

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