Chinese people have a passion for food. Which is exactly what you would expect from a country where the traditional way to greet people (ni chile ma) translates to have you eaten yet? Bao is a perfect example of this celebrated food. It’s a complete and tasty meal made of pork and flavored with traditional Chinese spices. Then it’s conveniently packed away in a white, warm, soft bun and ready to enjoy.
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 Tbsp lard or vegetable shortening
- 1 ½ lb ground pork, lean
- ¼ head cabbage
- 2 inch ginger root
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ Tbsp rice wine
- 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp white pepper, ground
For the dough:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and 1 cup lukewarm water and set aside.
Add the lard to the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add yeast mixture and knead dough until a smooth and elastic dough forms.
Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
While dough is rising begin preparing the filling:
Finely chop or shred cabbage. Place in a small bowl and mix with 1 Tbsp of salt to help draw out excess moisture. Allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Finely mince 2 inches of fresh ginger root.
In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, five-spice, egg, sesame oil and pepper.
Rinse cabbage under cool water and squeeze dry with paper towels.
Add pork, cabbage and ginger to the soy sauce mixture and combine well.
Cover and place in the refrigerator until dough is ready.
Creating the wrappers:
Remove dough from bowl and knead several times.
Using a knife, divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place on a floured surface. Cover with cling film until ready to use.
Using a rolling pin, roll one ball into a 4-inch circle to create a wrapper.
Repeat until all 24 wrappers are rolled out, covering with cling film as you go.
Assembling the boazi:
Place 1 ½ to 2 Tbsp filling in the center of the wrapper leaving about 1 inch of edge free.
Beginning on one side of the wrapper, pull the edge over the filling, pinching the dough together in a circular fashion, until the bun is completely sealed.
Repeat to assemble remaining buns.
Line bamboo steamer with baking paper (cut with small holes to allow steam to flow through). Place steamer over a pot of boiling water.
Steam buns in batches for 12 minutes over medium-high heat. Don’t crowd basket as buns will rise as they cook.
Serve hot with your choice of dipping sauce.