- For the bao:
- 2 t active dry yeast
- 3⁄4 cup water
- 310 g flour
- 32 g cornflour
- 3 T sugar
- 1⁄4 t baking powder
- 40 g duck fat or butter
- For the kimchi, mix:
- 1 Chinese or plain cabbage, chopped into large pieces
- 30 g coriander, roughly chopped
- 100 g spring onions, sliced
- For the kimchi dressing, mix:
- 3 T Korean red pepper paste
- 1 T fish sauce
- 3 limes, juiced
- 1 t dried chilli flakes
- 1⁄3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 x 10 cm piece ginger, finely grated
- 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 4 T soya sauce
- For the omelettes:
- 20 free-range eggs, whisked
- 3 T milk
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 T butter or ghee
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
To make the bao, knead the ingredients in a mixer using the dough hook for 8–10 minutes, or knead by hand for 20 minutes. Once the dough is smooth, place in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean, damp cloth. Place in a warm place to rise for 1 1⁄4 hours.
Once the dough has risen, punch down and divide in half, then divide each half into 5 ping-pong-sized balls. Cover lightly with clingwrap and allow to prove for 30 minutes.
Flatten the balls with your hand and roll into ovals. Place a greased chopstick across the middle of each oval and fold over. Remove the chopstick and place the dough on a piece of greaseproof paper. Rest for 40 minutes.
Steam the buns on the greaseproof paper for 10 minutes.
Pour the dressing over the kimchi mixture and allow to macerate for 10–15 minutes. You can also make this a few days in advance and store in an airtight container.
To make the omelettes, whisk the eggs with the milk and season. Heat a little ghee or butter in a nonstick pan over a high heat. Pour a little egg mixture into the pan. As soon as the sides start to set, fold over to make a small parcel. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture.
To assemble, open the bao and slide in an omelette parcel and some kimchi.
Cook’s note: Inspired by a delicious sweet bao I ate in Chinatown in New York that was filled with an egg custard, I decided the texture of an omelette would be perfect for this sweet-savoury recipe. These Chinese steamed buns, filled with meat and veg, are popular throughout Indonesia and southeast Asia. They’re made to be eaten by hand – just add an egg and you’ve got breakfast on the go. Find Korean red pepper paste at Asian supermarkets.