Pan Fried Bao
Speaking of Bao, you may think about these steamed white buns served with some sort of slow cooked meat and sauce, like a burger, kebab or taco warp. I mean, that is a brilliant twist, I love it. Last week I had a chat with my friend Kristin about Bao, she told me how much she loves them, at first I assumed she was talking about Bao the warp, but she quickly cleared to me that she was talking about the real Baozi(Bao), she tasted while she was traveling through China some years back. They were so delicious, she wish to taste Baozi again in Norway. Next day, I decided to prepare some Baozi from ingredients I got in my near by grocery store.
What is Baozi anyway? Baozi is a bun made of mixture of flour and water after fermentation process. They are most traditionally filled with minced meat and vegetables. In modern China they are mostly served as quick take-away food. They are prepared in their own signature ways in different regions of China, in my region we fill them with ham and honey mixture. The Baozi I prepared today are originally a Shanghai specialty. Usually the they are injected with pork stock jelly made from slow cooked pig skin, unfortunately pig skin is not the typical things you find at local store here. I decided to use minced beef instead and add a bit of carrot in the filling to sweeten up.
1.5 hour (varies depend on your kneading and folding skill)
2 (24-28 buns)
For the dough:
3g baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
app. 100g warm water
20g flour on the side to use for preventing dough get sticky
For the filling:
180g minced beef
3 scallions, use only the white parts
2 slices ginger
1 teaspoon sichuan pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 spoon olive oil
1 spoon soy sauce
1 spoon sugar
1 spoon cornstrach
1 cup water
One teaspoon black sesame
3 spoons soy sauce
3 spoons vingar
1 clove garlic
Chilli oil for taste
For the dough:
Cut ginger into thin slices, soak ginger and Sichuan pepper in a cup of warm water. app 250ml. This step is actually for the filling, we get there when the dough is done.
Melt yeast in warm water.
In a large bow, add in flour, baking powder and salt, stir evenly.
Slowly add in yeast water to flour wile string fast and firmly counterclockwise(I’m right handed) with a pair of chopsticks or a spoon, repeat it 3-4 times to make sure flour and water are well mixed. Pour in slowly to make sure you do not add too much water in. You need to adjust amount of water manually since each flour are different, here I used baking flour from Møllerens.
Stop adding water once you see the flour appears long, lose shape. Start kneading flour with your palm for approximately 5-10 minutes. Add in water in case the dough is too dry or add in a bit flour in case the dough is too wet. Do it slowly by sprinkle flour evenly on top or by filter water through your palm.
Once the dough is done, adjust it into a small round dough. Leave in the bowl, cover with a lid and let it rest for 30 minutes.
While waiting for the dough to rest, let us start with preparing for the filling:
For the filling:
Chop the bottom of spring onion and slice carrot into thin slices with a slicer.
In a large bowl, add in mince beef, egg and cornstarch. Slowly pour in the water mixture of ginger and Sichuan pepper(mentioned above) through a sieve into the bowl. Meanwhile stir fast counterclockwise at mixture so the minced beef could absorb water completely. Repeat 3-4 times until you use up all water and the mixture appear to be very sticky and gluey. This step is very important if you wish to get a tasty, juicy filling at the end. Invest your time on it, do not stir on more than one direction.
Add in all seasoning and stir evenly.
Cover the bowl with a lid and let it rest.
For prepare the Bao:
After 30 minutes, check you dough, by this time the dough should appear slightly larger. Poke a finger on the dough, you will see it recovers slowly. Take the dough out, knead it to let out air for approximately 3 minutes. Press with your palm to flat the dough out to a long flat shape, then fold three times. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough, then roll from bottom up wards into a slim, long log.
Cut the dough to 15-17g small discs. Sprinkle some flours if needed.
Press on each disc to a flat shape, then roll out with rolling pin to round wrappers, a good wrapper should be thiner on edge and thicker in the middle. Sprinkle on flour to keep them dry.
Place half spoon of filling in the middle of the warp, hold the warp in one of your hand, then fold the warp with other hand counterclockwise until it forms into a cute round Bao. I used both hands to stabiles and fold the bun. This step is actually quite easy once you practiced a few times. So don’t lose hope on the first or second one if they turn out to be not that “pretty”. As long as you manage to make a tight closure at the end it is a very good start.
Click here for an external youtube instruction on the folding. I bought a tripod this week so I could start video records of some techniques. Hopefully soon I can get starts on that.
Repeat until all warps are done.
Heat a large flat pan to medium high heat. Drizzle few drops of olive oil on the bottom, place Bao in the pan, fry about 2 minutes until all bottoms appear to be golden.
Add in hot water until they cover half of Bao. Reduce heat to medium, sprinkle black sesame on top. Cover with lid, let cook for 5 minutes.
Once the water has dried, turn the Baos upside down and fry for 1 minute for a slightly burned top look.
Turn off heat, ready to serve.
Chop garlic into small bits, mix with soy sauce, vinegar and chilli oil.
Dip Bao into the dip mixture and enjoy that mouth full of deliciousness. They are made for one-bite kind of mouthful enjoyment, try that.