Baozi (Steamed Buns)
(makes 16 small or 8-10 big fluffy buns)
Baozi are steamed buns typically eaten for breakfast in China ('bao' meaning bun/bread). This recipe was inspired by the bao that I tried a few years ago in Shanghai. I remember walking across the street from where I was staying, to a small shop that opened early in the morning to sell these incredibly popular and tasty breakfast treats. I've tried to replicate them at home with some success I think. The meat filling is very similar to the ones I had in China but please do experiment with whatever takes your fancy. The same dough can be used to make cha siu bao (roast pork buns) and also gai bao (chicken buns) which are often served as dim sum. You could also fill the buns with something sweet (lotus seed paste, azuki bean paste or black sesame) but equally delicious.
Moist, fluffy, steamy goodness!
400g AP Flour
3 tbsp Shortening or Lard (melted)
4 tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder (note: two different leavening agents - not a typo)
1 tsp Salt
250g Ground Pork (not too lean)
3 Green Onions (Scallions) finely chopped
3 Shitake Mushrooms finely chopped (I rehydrated some dried shitakes)
2 tbsp Fresh Ginger (finely chopped)
2-3 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
2 tbsp Soy Sauce (dark or light)
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Rice Wine (I used mirin. You could also substitute with sherry)
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
(Additional: Baking parchment cut into 16 squares (3") and 1 tbsp sesame oil)
Put all the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl and mix well. Set it aside for at least 1 hour.
Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough.
Mix the melted shortening/lard and water.
Stir the dry ingredients into the water and mix/knead to a smooth dough (5-10 minutes kneading).The dough should be fairly stiff but if you feel it's not loose enough for shaping then incorporate a little more water.
Bulk ferment the dough until doubled in volume (about 30-40 minutes)
After bulk fermentation, turn out the dough and degass.
Divide the dough into 16.
Roll each piece of dough into a ball and rest for 5 minutes.
Flatten each ball and roll/shape into a thin, flat disc about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. (Try to keep the dough at the edges thinner than in the centre)
Place about 1 tbsp of the filling in the centre of the dough and crimp the edges of the dough around the filling.
Brush a square of baking parchment with sesame oil and place the formed bun onto it.
Allow the bao to proof on a covered plate or tray for a further 20 minutes before placing in a steamer to cook for 15 minutes.
Check that the pork is cooked through before serving immediately (they can be addictive and usually don't hang around long!)