Are you a Bao fan too?

It’s been some time since I have been wanting to cook these little dim sum pieces at home. I am a big fan but I always imagined it would be a bit complicated to cook them, so I never got the courage to spend some time and make them.

But since I’m stuck at home alone this whole time, I finally tried them yesterday. I wanted to use the original recipe of the Bao Pixar cartoon, have you seen it yet? It’s the cutest thing ever!

I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients though and since going to the shop is impossible at the moment, so I like to improvise! The idea of the Mediterranean lifestyle is using local seasonal ingredients, so I love the philosophy of taking local fresh ingredients, depending on what country or part of the world you are in and just make it fresh and new! It’s not always about Med ingredients, it’s about 0 km, sustainable, fresh, wholesome, excellent quality ingredients that will taste so much better than out-of-season or over-seas produce.

Don’t judge if they are not absolutely perfect, it was my first time making them!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH FOR 2 PEOPLE

  • 200 g WHEAT FLOUR
  • 170 g WATER
  • 1,5 g DRY YEAST (in any recipe you want to substitute dry yeast with a fresh one, use double)

INGREDIENTS I FOUND IN MY FRIDGE FOR FILLING

  • 200g GROUND PORK (feel free to substitute with other meat or a vegetarian alternative or just increase veggies of the recipe)
  • 1 SMALL CARROT
  • 1 PIECE OF DAIKON (same size as the carrot)
  • 4 SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS (I had small ones, you can use two big, any other mushrooms will do)
  • 1 TSP GRATED GINGER
  • 1 GALIC CLOVE
  • 3 SPRING ONIONS
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 TBSP SESAME OIL
  • 2 TBSP SOY SAUCE (use tamari as a gluten free option)
  • 1 TBSP COOKING WHITE WINE, I USED VERMOUTH TO GIVE IT A RICHER TASTE
  • A DASH OF SALT AND PEPPER

TOOLS FOR COOKING

  • A STEAMING BASKET
  • CABBAGE LEAVES OR BAKING PAPER
  • POT OF WATER WHERE TO PUT THE STEAMING BASKET

SAUCE

You can prepare a sauce, but it is not mandatory of course! I like to mix:

  • 3 TBSP SOY SAUCE OR TAMARI
  • 1 TBSP WATER
  • A DASH OF RICE OR WHITE WINE OR APPLE SIDER VINEGAR
  • SOME GRATED GINGER FOR AROMA
  • SPRING ONIONS

MAKING THE DOUGH

This step is pretty easy. Mix the water, flour and yeast all together with your hands or if you have a mixer, that is even easier. Use any extra flour if the dough is too sticky, or add water as needed if it is too stiff. Flour and humidity vary from one place to another, so I’m just putting approximate flour/water ratio.

When you have your dough ball looking like this, leave it with a towel over it to leaven for at least two hours.

The dough should look like this, you should be able to pick it up from the bowl without it sticking to your hands. Use flour on your hands to ease the mixing.

PREPARING THE FILLING

First thing, take half of the ground meat and sauté it in a pan, let it cool fully.

The next step is real easy, you just chop the veggies up nice and small, and mix the raw and cooked meat plus all the other ingredients together in a big bowl.

Mix, mix, mix!

Leave the stuffing to rest in the fridge for 30 min, or if you did this just after making the dough, until the time of shaping the balls.

SHAPING AND FILLING THE BAOS

You can see step-by-step images just right under. Scroll more for the written instructions.

  1. Make a hole in the dough and start working around it with hands making it look like a long snake ring;
  2. Cut the big ring and keep working the two snakes until they are at a 2cm diameter;
  3. Cut small balls, depending on the size of the baos you will want in the end, I’d suggest 2cm, but try it and see how you like it!
  4. Roll the small ball out in a flat circle, don’t worry if it’s not a prefect circle;
  5. Put the rolled out cicle in your palm for easier filling;
  6. Take a spoon and fill the dough, not too much because you won’t be able to close it properly;
  7. Pinch with your fingers around the circle of dough until you fully close it, don’t be scared to push the filling in with your finger to not let it fall out;
  8. Twist and close it well so the filling isn’t visible and so it doesn’t open during cooking;
  9. Place the made bao in the steamer but don’t forget to line the steamer with cabbage leaves or baking paper so they don’t stick to it! If you don’t put the baos directly in the steamer, put them on a floured surface otherwise they will stick and break when you try to pick them up!

Once you have all your pretty baos done, boil water and put the steamer on top of the steamy pot, don’t forget to put the lid on the steamer.

Let it cook for 15 min, that should cook the dough and the filling thoroughly!

They will puff up slightly when cooking. When they are ready, be careful not to scald your hands! Take the steamer off carefully with gloves. And voilá!

THERE YOU GO! You can enjoy these with the sauce or without, as a snack or as a meal, they are absolutely delicious and not that difficult to make!

NEXT-DAY BAOS

If you are left with some for the next day like I was, roast them in the pan for a few minutes until they are golden brown.

ENJOY

About

Graduate in Gastronomic Sciences, Q Arabica Grader, WSET L2 in wine. Obsessed with cooking new recipes, I love visiting producers and travel for food!

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