Bao Buns

My sister made bao buns not too long ago , i saw her on instagram post . We don’t live near from each other , she lives on the other side of the world , but we usually keep in touch through social media . So i saw her bao buns , and i mentioned she should teach me how to make it . In return she said ” you’re kidding right ? ” LOL .. She’s a pastry chef but bread dough isn’t really her forte , and i am on the other hand , love making bread stuff . She probably thought i wasn’t serious when i asked her to teach me .

Bao buns is basically Chinese steam bread . Just like you would to make any other basic bread , except it’s not even baked , it is steamed . Like many other chinese breakfast stuff ( dim sum ) . It is small , probably 2-3 bites for 1 bao buns . When i was younger , i used to eat Baozi ( in Indonesia , we call it bakpao ) quite often , with so many different fillings inside . Similar , baozi , usually it’s closed buns . Bao buns is like a taco , it’s open and you can fill it with filling of your choice . I am not from China , so i am not 100% sure what’s the difference with the name . LOL

So this recipe i adapated from youtube , and it’s super easy , just make sure to adjust any liquid if you need it , as with many other bread dough . If you don’t have bamboo steamer , it’s fine . I have the big pot that people usually use to make tamales , and i just line them with cofffee liner , and wrap the lid with kitchen towel to prevent the water to drip back down .

The filling i choose was easy , just using chicken , i will include the recipe below , but i don’t have any exact measurement , since i pretty much eyeball stuff . At least it will give you idea what seasonings i use .

Ingredients :

  • 1/3 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of milk ( i actually used half and half )
  • 2 tbsp of yeast
  • 4 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour ( i’d start with 2 1/4 cup and will add more flour as needed )
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Directions :

  • In a large mixing bowl , add all ingredients , and use the dough hook , let the machine knead it until it’s quite elastic .
  • It will take 5 to 8 minutes . Take it out from the bowl . Shape into a ball , place seam side down , let it rise in warm area until double in size . About 90 minutes
  • Deflate the dough , let it sit for 5 minutes , covered , flatten the dough . Use a rolling pin , roll it flat about 1/4 inch thickness . Use a 3 inches biscuit cutter if you have to cut them in circle shape , as many as possible .
  • Brush lightly with oil , then fold them in half , then flatten them up with the rolling pin again . Do this to all of them . Place them on the steamer ( i lined my steamer with coffee filter ) , don’t steam it yet , it will need to proof .
  • Let it proof for 35 minutes , and it should puff up by now .
  • Steam for 8-10 minutes . Done , let it cool

For the chicken fillings :

  • Chicken thighs , boneless and skinless
  • chinese five spice powder , i actually didn’t have them , but i replaced it with cinnamon powder , fennel , cloves and star anise ( minus the schezuan pepper )
  • fresh ginger
  • garlic
  • onion
  • salt and pepper
  • oyster sauce
  • soy sauce
  • indonesian sweet soy sauce ( if you don’t have it , i would just add brown sugar )

Mix the chicken with all ingredients in a bowl and let it marinade for about 30 minutes or so . Heat oil in a large skillet , place the chicken thighs in the skillet , with the marinade , cook for 5 minutes , then flip it on the other side , cover with the lid , turn it down to low . For a good 10-20 minutes . Depending how big the chicken is , it should be done by now . Cool , then shred the chicken , put it back into the skillet . Add cornstarch and cook for few minutes . Add water and keep cooking for few more minutes . Use this as the filling for the bao , if you have leftovers , you can always save and eat it later with jasmine rice .

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