Early in January, hubby and I went to New York with a whole lot of our friends. One food place we tried and really enjoyed was Baohaus, which served really tasty and fresh baos.
Ever since then, I’ve been keen to have a go at making my own. So when we had some friends over for dinner the other night, I planned another overly ambitious meal.
This is not so much a recipe as a food idea. Perhaps this will be something you can try at home and you can also experiment with different fillings as I did. I’ve never made bao dough before and this wasn’t a great success. I used Jay del Corro’s recipe but did find it a little sweet. I would probably use less sugar or try a different one next time. Also, the bao didn’t end up quite as fluffy and springy as I had hoped. I don’t think this was the fault of the recipe – I suspect that it was a combination of things I did wrong, such as struggling to knead the dough properly (because I had doubled the recipe and it was an unwieldy amount to handle), not letting it rest for long enough, and for letting the steamed baos get a bit too cold before serving.
On a more positive side, if you want to try these at home but can’t be bothered making the dough yourself, they do sell these type of bao sliders (I don’t think they’re technically called that, but I think the name fits) at Asian supermarkets like Taiping. They come frozen and all you have to do is steam them.
I had a lot of fun thinking of ideas for the fillings. Here’s what I came up with.
Char siu bao sliders with choy sum
For this, I just put some Lee Kum Kee char siu marinade over rindless slices of pork belly and roasted them in the oven. I sliced them up and put them in the sliders with some choy sum which I had stir fried with a bit of garlic and soy. I think for this it’s important to choose juicy bits of pork so that it doesn’t all end up being too dry.
Crispy salt and pepper beef bao with cucumber and carrot
For this one, I fried strips of beef with cornflour until crispy and then I tossed it in a salt and pepper spice mix. This spice mix consisted of Sichuan pepper, dried chillies, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, black peppercorns, garlic flakes and rock salt – I toasted all these and then ground them up. I put them into the bao sliders with strips of cucumber and grated carrot.
Coriander and cumin lamb bao with lettuce
Over a high heat, I fried some cumin seeds, garlic and finely chopped spring onions. I then added thinly sliced lamb, dark soy sauce and dried chilli flakes and stir fried it all until it was all cooked. I then tossed through a whole bunch of chopped coriander and served it in the bao with shredded lettuce.
The verdict seemed to be that the fillings were tasty, even if the bao itself was a bit average. Hopefully these are a few ideas for you if you’re keen to try making your own.