Updated: Jul 25, 2021
Bao buns are a classic street food dish that originates from Taiwan. I wanted the focus on this recipe to be on how to make the bao bun, playing around with the recipe to make it as light and fluffy as possible. As for what to put in it is entirely up to you, although in this recipe I decided to braise pork belly in miso and it worked perfectly. Lets make bao's!!!
To make 8 Bao's
350g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
30g milk powder
5g baking powder
5g instant dry yeast
200ml warm water
belly pork (approx 500g-750g)
3 garlic cloves
2 spring onions
4 dry red chillis
2 tbsp red miso paste
4 tbsp light soy
2 tbsp dark soy
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sake
500-700 ml water
pickled daikon and carrot
50g cashew nuts
Lets start with braising the pork. Slice the belly pork into large strips about 2 cm wide and 10cm in length. Next in a pan fry the pork on a high heat with a splash of oil until both sides of the pork are nicely caramelised. Next add the spring onion, garlic, ginger and chilli to the pork and fry for a further 5 minutes until fragrant. Deglaze the pan by adding the sake and mirin then add the soy and sugar and top up with water to ensure all the pork is covered. Finally whisk in the miso paste and allow to simmer on a low heat. Add a lid to the pan and slowly braise for 2 hours.
2. Now to prepare the bao's, in a large mixing bowl add 350g of sieved plain flour, 30g milk powder, 5g baking powder and 35g of sugar then mix all the dry ingredients together. In a jug add 200ml of warm water (approx 36°c) then add 5g of instant dry yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes. When the water starts to foam add 35ml of rapeseed oil. Next make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Combine all ingredients together with a spatular until a rough dough is formed.
3. Now lightly dust a table top with flour and place the dough onto the table. Kneed the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, adding additional flour if the dough becomes too sticky. You can tell the dough is ready as it should be smooth and when you lightly press into it, it should spring back. Place the dough into a clean bowl and cover with clingfilm and allow to prove in a warm area for 60-90 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
4. When the dough is ready remove from the bowl and place back onto the table. Dust with a little flour and knock back the dough to remove any air pockets. To divide the dough, roll into a ball then cut in half. Roll each half into a ball again, then divide into 4 small balls giving you 8 pieces of dough in total.
5. We now have 8 equal pieces of dough, roll each piece into small balls then with a lightly floured rolling pin roll the dough into disks roughly half a cm thick.
6. To prevent the dough from sticking lightly brush one side of the dough with oil, then fold the dough in half to form a crescent shape. Place the crescents onto a small square piece of greaseproof paper and lightly roll one side of the dough with a rolling pin to make a smooth surface.
7. When all the dough is rolled, place onto a tray, clingfilm and allow to prove again for 30 minutes. The dough should have puffed up again, so now they are ready to steam. Add the bao's to a bamboo steamer and steam for 10-12 minutes until light and fluffy. When all the bao's are cooked place aside and get ready to serve.
8. For the cashew nuts simple add to a dry pan and toast. Add to a pestle and mortar and break down the cashew nuts and season with a pinch of salt. Prepare the pickles by adding batons of daikon and carrots to a pickle made up of 40 percent sugar to 60 percent rice vinegar. Allow the vegetables to pickle for at least 15 minutes before serving. For the herbs roughly chop and set aside.
9. Now to finally serve, add the braised pork slices into the bao's then add pickles, herbs and sprinkle the cashew nuts over the top...hope you enjoy making bao's!!!
You can fill bao's with fried chicken or fish, if you want to make this vegetarian try with tofu and shiitake mushrooms. The possibilities are endless, as long as you have soft and fluffy bao's you should be set to go! Have fun...