I love BAO, these steamed buns of all sorts of shapes that you can find in Chinese restaurants. I love it so much that I was curious to know how to make it and decided to try myself. I made two versions: pork belly for me and tofu for Jodi (not entirely vegetarian as it contains fish sauce). It is not that this recipe is complicated, but it takes some time.
Time: 3 hours
For the buns:
- bun flour (Bot banh bao - bought on the internet - it is available on Amazon)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
For the pork belly:
- 2 lb pork belly
- 2 tbsp coarse salt
- 2 tbsp pepper
For the marinade:
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup spring roll sauce (sweetness to counterbalance the vinegar)
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 green onions
- 2 tbsp garlic
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
For the garnish:
- Hoisin sauce
- iceberg lettuce
Step 1: Roasting of the pork belly - 2h15
When I received the pork belly I ordered, it was cut into three slabs. So I put each slab 1/2 inch from each other and rubbed them with a mix of salt and pepper. Then, I put them into some aluminum foil that I closed, not too tight, but put enough to avoid the juice to leak as the pork, while cooking will release a bit of it.
I then roasted the pork belly for two hours in the oven at 275 degree Fahrenheit. This slow cooking process will give a tender and juicy meat. If you have a bigger slab of pork belly, cook it longer at a slightly lower temperature. After two hours, you obtain a perfectly cooked pork that you will slice evenly:
Step 2: preparation of the marinade
Cut the green onions in small even pieces (you will use the white and light green part of the onion). In a saucepan, sauté the onions, the garlic and the ginger, mixing with a spoon and making sure it does not burn. When the garlic starts to be brown, remove from the heat.
In a bowl, put the rice vinegar, spring rolls sauce, soy sauce, water and the mixture of onions and garlic you just prepared. Mix all the ingredients together.
Step 3: sauté the tofu and pork belly
In a saucepan, sauté some slices of tofu in olive oil, at high heat, flipping them after 5 minutes.
In another saucepan, do the same with the pork belly, but flip the slices once brown. They will release some fat that will be used later.
Step 4 - Marinate the pork belly and tofu
Pour half of the marinade in each pan, cover and cook at lo heat for 25 minutes.
Step 5 - Making the buns
To make the buns, I simply followed the recipe on the package:
In a bowl, pour the milk and vegetable oil, add slowly the flour and mix with your hand for 10 minutes until obtaining a firm dough. Let it rest for 15 minutes and then knead for 5 more minutes.
Flatten the dough with a rolling pin. Cut the dough in a round shape with a glass or bowl and flatten again with a rolling pin. Fold delicately in half and put on a piece of wax paper. With the packet of flour, you will make approximately 12 buns. Put in a steamer (i use a couscoussier) for 25 minutes. Let the buns cool for 5 minutes.
Step 6: Serve!
Open the buns delicately. Spread some hoisin sauce inside, on both sides, and put a slice of pork belly or tofu, topped with iceberg lettuce and cilantro. Et voila!
If you like this post, the photos or the blog, please feel free to share it or post a comment. Merci!