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30 August 2012

Steamed Pork Buns (Bao)



Its only been two days since my last post and I can tell you that this has been an absolutely exhausting week! But I can always find solice in my baking, and now, cooking. I always mention the hubster but what I have not told you about him, is that he constantly likes to try new and different cuisines and recipes. He loves to experiment with food and so most of the easy 1,2, 3 recipes just do not work for him. So I'm always on the hunt for interesting recipes that are not too complicated to make, as I only come home from school at about 6-7pm and so hours of cooking time are just not feasible.

Well 3 years ago, when the hubster and I were only dating for about a year, he came with me to Chicago to celebrate my 24th birthday. I asked my sister, my closest cousin and the hubster to celebrate with me via a destination birthday- hence Chicago. While there, we stopped at a mall where they were selling Steamed Pork Buns (Bao). Now, to the hubster this was a new food. For me, this was a flashback to childhood (as my sister can tell you). Growing up in Hawaii, this was a common and popular food that we called mana pua (I cannot garuntee that I am spelling that right)- so to find this food again was an awesome memory of childhood.

As I searched for recipes, I stumbled upon a recipe for Steamed Pork Buns (Bao) and just new that the hubster would love this- so I had to try. And let me tell you- boy was this a LEARNING EXPERIENCE! The first couple I made were horrible, the next few were "eh", and finally I go the swing of things (not that the last few were amazing)- but I have to say that I am pretty proud of the turn out (given that my cooking skills are still "growing").





STEAMED PORK BUNS (CHINESE BAO)
Adapted from Use Real Butter

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE DOUGH
1 3/4c. hot water
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. yeast
6 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. shortening

FOR THE FILLING
1/2 c. chicken broth
4 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. ketchup
5 tsps granulated sugar
4 tsps. cornstarch
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 package of ground pork(1lb)
1/2 c. green onion (diced)
Mushrooms finely diced

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water and add the yeast- whisk together. Let the yest stand for about 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy to the top. In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking soda. Then mix in shortening. Slowly add yest mixture and mix well (I used a dough hook attachment with my kitchenaid mixer). Knead dough until smooth and place in large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm place for about 2 hours, until it triples in size. When dough has risen, "punch" the dough a few times to deflate it. Roll lengthwise and cut 24 equal pieces.

For the mixture mix together chicken broth, oyster sauce, ketchup, sugar, corn starch, soy sauce, salt, olive oil, and green onion. Set aside. Cook ground turkey unitl (almost cooked) then add in mushroom and onions and sautee for a few minutes. Then add in sauce mixture and cook on high heat for about 2 minutes, then cook on low heat for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens. Place in refridgerator until completely cooled.

To assemble the pork buns, roll each piece of cut dough into very thin cirlces (yes, thin- the dough will thicken when steaming). Cup the dough in your hand and place a spoonful of mixture in the middle, then fold closed. Pleat the edges together, with the intent of gathering the edges to form a sort of bowl from the dough (use your thumb or spoon to push the filling down). Use Real Butter has a very nice tutorial on how to fold it "properly"- and although I tried very hard, I could not seem to get it right- so for folding, I refer to Use Real Butter. Let stand for 10 minutes then place in steamer (at least two inches apart from one another) and steam for 10-15 minutes until dough is nice and fluffy.

Enjoy,
Chika

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