Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chinese Steamed Buns (Bao)

Well I did it. With all my Dutch heritage and genetic baking inheritance from my Grandfather (Opa) I mastered (well... sorta) the art of Chinese Steamed Buns.

On the last day of school I went with Son to visit with some friends of his that were going to be moving back to China over the summer. We, their mother J and I, wanted them to get in at least one last play date before they left. While we were there she offered up a plate of beef steamed buns for a late morning snack. Son ate 3 and probably would have eaten more if I had let him. I commented that I would have to get the recipe since he liked them so much. J was kind enough to offer to come over the next day and teach me! J brought over her steamers and special rolling pin and everything else I didn't have since I had never made these buns before. We made several Bao and some dumplings with the same filling. Son was thrilled and gobbled them up eagerly over the next few days. Then he started asking me to make more. Well, J had not given me a recipe, she had given me a list of ingredients and the directions on how to put them together.

I did my usual search on the internet for recipes and got together my list of ingredients and equipment I would need. A Steamer was very important! I also needed a different kind of rolling pin, the big heavy one I had would not do, I needed a long thin pin with no handles for rolling out the small circles. I think I was one of maybe 2 Caucasian people in the Korean market when I bought my pin! I didn't really mind, it just meant I was getting the right equipment. Finally I had everything I needed to get started.

Sunday I made up the first batch of dough, it turned out much too sticky even after adding flour. I was concerned about adding too much flour so we ended up baking it as a loaf of sweet bread instead. I used a different recipe for the second batch of dough and it turned out sooo much better! The Pork filling with Ginger and Green Onions was ready and waiting when the dough had doubled in size. I spent about 2 hours rolling out little circles and filling them with the meat mixture, or at least it felt that long! When I ran out of dough I mixed up a simple flour and water dough to make dumplings out of the rest of the meat filling. My new double level steamer worked a charm.

My steamed buns didn't look very pretty, but they were cooked through and holding together! Son was eating the buns almost before they had a chance to cool. He decided that they were all he wanted for dinner! Hubby and I enjoyed the strong ginger taste of the filling too. They made a very tasty addition to our planned dinner.

We sent some dumplings with Son for lunch on Monday too. I can't remember the last time he ate so much of the lunch I packed! I will definitely be making more of these buns and dumplings if only to get Son eating more protein without complaining. :)

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