Inspired by a post over at Tinkering With Dinner I found myself in the mood to make some bao, steamed buns filled with various tasty things. I was all set to make the dough when I remembered that I had a packet of pre-mixed bao flour in the cabinet, which guaranteed me I would have "a delicious steamed buns". Score! I also had some Lap Chong (Chinese Sausages) and Lap Yuk (Chinese Bacon). Double Score!
The challenges began immediately. Though the flour said 'Product of the USA' it was obviously intended for places abroad, as it had Vietnamese, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Engrish on it. So I tried to decipher Babel-fish's hideous translation and ended up just shooting from the hip. Mixed and kneaded dough, check. Rest, check. Oil then more kneading, check.
Meanwhile I made the fillings. The bag had a general recipe with no units, so again, shoot from the hip. Two bowls. Chop two sausages, into one bowl. About 4 inches of the bacon, minced, into another bowl. Minced clove of garlic each. The last of my CSA green onions. Couple tablespoons frozen peas. 1/4 cup Boca "Meat" crumbles my vegetarian sister-in-law had left in the freezer per bowl. One chopped up hard boiled egg, split between them. Bit of salt, bit of sugar. Few glugs of oyster sauce in each (the bag said "oyster oil", so I'm guessing this is what they meant...) Stir till it looks ok. It's more of a Vietnamese style bao than Chinese but whatever.
Divided the dough into 12 little balls, and rolled out to about 1/4" thick circles. Placed a heaping tablespoon of filling in each, then pinched them closed. I know there's a fancy way to do this but I am not anybody's Vietnamese grandmother so mine were, well, they were closed.
The instructions said to fire up my "autoclave", which I was not sure you could realistically cook in, so I used my bamboo steamer instead. (Funny story: for years I honestly thought an autoclave was some kind of laser scalpel. That's why Meredith is the scientist.) I put the bao on lettuce and cabbage leaves and steamed 10 minutes lid on, 10 off. A couple Ts of vinegar to the water kept them nice and white.
How were they? Awesome. We had a delicious steamed buns. And we had 12 of them so there were plenty for future lunches.
Indefinite Hiatus - Well, given that it's been a year since this was last updated clearly I don't have the time I used to devote to it. So the blog is going on indefinite hiat...
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