Thursday, December 10, 2009

Banh Bao Throw Down

For the past few weeks I have been craving banh bao. I do all my shopping on University Street and the markets there don't seem to have any 'fresh' ones when I go. So no banh bao for me. I decided to attempt my own. I've only made it one other time, but it was the bbq pork version. They turned out yummy but that was a couple of years ago.

I had mentioned it to my brother, who is a really good cook (like my mom) and it turned out he had the same idea. So we had a Banh Bao Throw Down, which I declared him the winner. You can find his Banh Bao post here.

As a child, I only remember my mom making these once. Her advice to me was to use boiling water for the dough and to add water chestnuts to my pork filling. I wanted my buns to look pretty and I researched how to fold them. By research, I mean I watched a few youtube videos. It seemed like all the instructors were very quick in showing their technique. So I was unable to copy them, but I'm sure with more practice I will eventually make prettier buns.

This is the flour mix I used.

16 oz Bot Banh Bao flour mix
1/2 C Sugar
1 C Milk
1 T Oil
Take 1 T of flour from the package and set aside for later use (I am assuming for when I roll out the dough). Mix the sugar and flour Gradually add the milk and knead for 15 minutes. Add 1 T Oil and knead for 10 minutes. Cover the dough for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, take one piece of Chinese sausage and cut into 12 pieces.
Boil 3 large eggs and once cooled and peeled, cut into quarters.

Make other part of filling by taking 1/2 lb of ground pork and marinating it with some minced garlic, sugar, black pepper, and oyster sauce.

I wonder if the technique is to take the rolled out dough, top with the meat mixture that has the egg and the Chinese sausage inside it? That is the only way I can figure out to keep the bun a round shape.

Divide the dough into 12 parts and roll the dough thinly.
Put filling into the middle and roll sides up to form a round roll.

Boil water in a steamer, add 1 T of vinegar to help make buns white. Steam the buns for 15 minutes then take the cover off and steam for 6 more minutes.

I let the buns cool for maybe 2 minutes before eating. I like to eat them immediately. They aren't pretty but they were delicious.

Next time I'm going to make HUGE buns and go with my mom's advice to use the boiling water in the dough and fatter meat for the filling. I don't like water chestnuts so I won't be adding that to my filling. I do love the egg and the Chinese sausage in them. Reminds me of my childhood. My dad would always bring me back one from the Asian market. I remember the dough being moist, not dry and the filling so flavorful.
I had fun cooking these buns. Thank you brother for inspiring me and challenging me.