Steamed and (Pan)Fried… Pork Buns – aka Bao.tzi

A couple of weeks ago, I traded Matt food for knowledge. After a cram session at Salt Lake Roasting Company, we walked over to Everest Tibetan Restaurant for a late dinner. It was good. Don’t get me wrong. But the cheap frugal person that I am, I balked at the $10.99 price for seven pan-fried momos. Momos = just like Chinese bao or a variation of the Japanese nikuman.

And plus, c’mon! Chinese food should not be that expensive (and hey, you can get delicious nikuman at a Japanese 7-Eleven for ~100 yen).

So, just the tiniest bit enraged (and very, very full from the still delicious dinner), I decided to make my own bao-tzi/bao-zi over the weekend.

I went online and found a few different recipes for dough. This one from mmm-yoso was my favorite, as vague as it is… http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2009/05/sheng-jian-bao-in-mostly-pictures.html. Note: Sheng Jian Bao is pan-fried bao. I roughed it out and made the dough by my senses (within reason). Then, the dough hid in the oven (just warmed, not powered on) while I rummaged through the fridge for a filling.

This is what I found…

  • ground pork
  • savory baked tofu (tofu gan)
  • minced green onions
  • dash of kosher salt

I went through the house a bit more and decided to add these additional flavors…

  • dash of white pepper
  • tad of oyster sauce
  • tiny bit of sesame oil

Mix it all up.

Then prep the dough!

Punch it down a bit, roll it out in a long, fatty log and cut into portions.

I like to use a tapered rolling pin, if available – it makes rolling it out easier. But, basically, you flatten out the sides and keep some more bulk in the center. Don’t roll it out too thin or it will not hold together well and won’t puff up.

Place the filling* in the center and pleat the top together.

I am not very good.

But I got a tad better!

The trick is to pull up and pleat the ends, rather than try to gather it from the middle. I suggest trying YouTube for a demonstration… I suck, sorry. Here’s one (scan to about 2:20 minutes into the video):

Once you’ve finished making all the baozi, put them in a hot fry pan with a bit of oil. Heat until the bottoms are crispy and then add a bit of water to steam it. Cover with a lid.

When the water has almost completely dissolved, uncover it as it wisps away the last bits of moisture. You can probably turn the heat off here as well.

I like to flip them over as they go into that final crisping stage, so there’s more crunchiness around the bun. Fried stuff is goooood.

Enjoy!

*I ran out of the pork filling after one small batch of dough. So I also did a few bao with sesame paste.

Then, there was also a chicken filling: chopped chicken, oyster sauce, a tad of soy sauce, sugar, green onions and more leftover baked savory tofu.

Yum yum yum. I think I came out with about two dozen bao at a rough estimated cost of about… $5-$8? Then again, it did take the entire day with the dough rising twice and then having to assemble it…

Worth it.

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