This recipe for charsiu bao is from Bao Family by Céline Chung. Bao Family, is symbolic of the bridge between two cultures, between tradition of Chinese culture and the modernity of Parisian life.
- For the dough:
- 500 g bread flour
- 1 t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 75 g white (granulated) sugar
- 5 g instant dried yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- For the filling:
- 30 g crushed garlic
- 30 g sliced ginger
- 30 g roughly chopped spring onion
- 2 T Shaoxing wine
- 200 ml soy sauce
- 150 ml Hoisin sauce
- 100 g Red fermented bean curd
- 100 g white (granulated) sugar
- 2 pinches white pepper
- 450 g pork shank
- 100 g honey
- 30 g cornflour
- ¼ cups water
To make the dough:
1. Put all the dry ingredients, except the yeast, into a large bowl. In another bowl, add warm water to the instant yeast and mix. Pour the water-yeast mixture onto the dry ingredients.
2. Using a pair of chopsticks, gently mix in circular movements from the centre outwards, slowly combining the wet and dry ingredients until they are no longer wet to touch and form a large ball of dough, not smooth but that holds together. Remove excess dough from the chopsticks and add to the mixture.
3. Place the dough on a flat, clean surface. Use the palms of your hands to knead the dough, incorporating the remaining flour in the bowl. If the ball is sticky after 1 minute of kneading, sprinkle lightly with flour during kneading. If the dough is too dry, wet your hands and continue kneading until the dough is no longer dry. Continue to knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, until the surface is smooth and the dough elastic (when you push a finger into the dough, it should return to its original shape).
To make the filling:
4. Prepare the marinade by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl except the pork, honey, cornflour and water. Cut the pork into two large pieces, add to the bowl and leave to marinate for a mini- mum of 3 hours, or ideally overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Drain the pork, reserving the marinade, then roast the pork in the oven for 15 minutes (on a rack if possible) to allow as much caramelisation as possible on the meat. Gently remove from the oven and brush with honey. Return to the oven for 15 to 20 min-utes until the pork is slightly charred on the edges. Remove from the oven, leave to rest, then cut the pork into approximately 1 cm (½ inch) cubes.
6. Pour the marinade into a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain the liquid and simmer again. Mix the cornflour and water in a bowl, then pour the mixture into the hot marinade. Bring to the boil until the sauce thickens. Add the pork cubes and leave to cool.
7. Roll out rounds of dough. To do this, place a wooden rolling pin under the palm of your dominant hand. Start from the bottom of the dough circle and roll upwards with medium pressure, almost to the centre of the dough, then roll back towards yourself. Using your other hand, rotate the dough 30 degrees and repeat. Keep turning and rolling until you have rolled the entire round. The centre of the dough should be slightly raised – the thickness helps prevent the baozi from overflowing and balances the amount of dough around the filling. The edges of the dough should be thinner so that the dough is not too thick at the top after folding the baozi. You can roll a second time to even out the shape and thickness. In general, if the filling is runnier or separates easily, the circle should be larger.
Assembling the bao:
8. Place a round of dough in the palm of your hand. Using a spoon, add 40 g filling to the centre of the dough and make a hollow with your hand so that the dough and filling are well-supported. With the index finger and thumb of your other hand, make a ‘pinch’ shape pointing downwards. Make a fold along the edge of the dough round and pinch gently. Repeat the process, rotating in the same direction. You have to pinch each time with one hand, and slowly turn the base of the dough with your other hand. You can use the thumb of the hand holding the baozi to push the filling in if it starts to come out. Continue until you can see less and less of the filling and the baozi is completely sealed. If you need to, pinch the top seal several times to ensure it is fully closed and to prevent the baozi from exploding during cooking. Place each baozi in a steamer basket on squares of baking paper or on ba baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving at least 3 cm (1¼ inches) between each baozi to allow them to expand.
9. Let the baozi rise for the second time in a warm, humid place for 20 minutes.
10. Steam for 14 minutes and serve immediately.
Extract reproduced with permission from Bao Family by Céline Chung. Published by Murdoch Books. Photography by Grégoire Kalt.