Impress yourself and your family with these homemade steamed bao buns. This was my first attempt at making them, and they turned out perfectly 🙂 Thank god!!! I was so relieved because I had dedicated a lot of time into making them! They are time consuming to make only because you have to wait a few hours for it to rise. But it is well worth it! Bao is one of my favourite things to order at a restaurant. There is something about that fluffy, light, pillowy bun. The first bite is always incredible. I still remember the first time I tried bao, and then the first time I tried bao with pork belly, holy s*** it was good. For my recipe I decided to use pulled pork with an asian bbq sauce. And then I thought it would be fun to do a vegetarian pulled pork by using Jackfruit. First of all if you want to try using jackfruit be prepared to look long and hard for it. We finally found it at our local IGA in the tofu section….?! The taste is a little tart and personally it wasn’t my favourite. I much preferred the traditional pulled pork, however its a great option because the texture is bang on.
The ingredients in the dough are pretty traditional. The only thing that really stood out to me was the addition of rice vinegar and milk. But other than that you have the main players; flour, salt, sugar, yeast and water.
I made the mistake of going to the gym before making the dough, you need to kneed it for 10-15 minutes. And its not a soft dough! So it makes for a nice little workout. You’ll see the dough transform into a smooth dough ball the more you kneed it. After 15 minutes put it in a lightly oiled boll, cover with a damp cloth and let it double in size (about 2 hours). This is why it takes long to make!
After 2 hours it should be double in size, tip the dough onto a clean surface and sprinkle with magic powder. This is another application I’ve never seen in a dough recipe before. Guess what you do now? KNEED it for another 5 minutes- you are getting your workout in!
After rolling it into a long log and cutting out individual pieces you have to form them and let them rise for another 1.5 hours. So yes it takes long to make but the majority is inactive time. I went to the grocery store, did laundry and cleaned my room while I waited! So its kind of the perfect recipe to do on your errands day.
After 1.5 hours they will be fluffy bao buns. And now the fun part, the steamer! I went on a Chinese food tour of my local Montreal china town this summer, hosted by the wonderful Victor. I will put a link so you can check it out, I highly recommend it! And after the tour we visited a store that sold all kinds of amazing things and this is where I bought my bamboo steamer! I opted for the traditional bamboo because I was told it imparts a nice flavour. It has 2 layers, fits 3 buns on each layer and I love it!
The toppings are important, you need that balance of sour, crunch, spicy and fresh. I kept it simple with a quick pickled cucumber, crushed nuts, fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, spicy sriracha and hoisin.
Here is a close up, perfectly steamed and fluffy- stuffed with yummy Chinese spiced pulled pork.
You’ve made it to the recipe part of my post! I cannot wait to share this amazing recipe with you guys. And I hope you attempt to make them yourself. It is SO worth it. If you do tag #jellybeaneats on instagram, I’d love to see your creations and repost them to my story.
Bao Buns (18)
525g of flour, measuring grams instead of cups is more accurate 🙂
1 tsp instant action yeast
2 tbs warm water
75 ml milk
1 tbs grape seed oil +extra for oiling the bowl and greasing the buns
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
175 ml of water
1.5 tsp baking powder
5 lbs Pork shoulder bone in OR 14oz jackfruit
2 garlic cloves, halved if you are using pork
Salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped
3 cm piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
1 tsp sriracha
3 tbs hoisin
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar * omit if using jackfruit, its sour enough
3 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs grape seed oil
3 tbs water
1.5 tsp Chinese 5 spice (don’t leave this out)
2 small cucumbers
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs water
The pulled pork takes 5 hours to cook. So what I did was I cooked it the day before, shredded it and then put it in the fridge. The next day while your bao buns are steaming you make the bbq sauce and heat the pulled pork from yesterday in the sauce. I highly recommend doing it this way! Making the pork and the buns in the same day would be too time consuming. To make the pork, salt and pepper the meat and stick the sliced garlic cloves on top. Use a roasting pan with a lid or cover with tinfoil and bake at 350F for 5 hours. Its done when the meat easily breaks apart with a fork. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes. Take two forks and shred it, then put it in a Tupperware to use the next day.
For the bbq sauce, in a medium size pan on medium-high heat add the oil, garlic, ginger and onion. Cook for 1 minute while stirring and then add the Chinese 5 spice. Stir the spice to combine everything together and let it toast for another minute. Then add all the other sauce ingredients. Let it thicken for about a minute and then add the shredded pulled pork from yesterday or the jackfruit. To prepare the jackfruit simply cut off the triangle part and then press down on the remaining part to break it up.
To pickle the cucumbers add 2 sliced small cucumbers to a bowl with 2 tbs vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbs of water. Stir it all together so every cucumber is coated with the pickling liquid. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. And thats it! You could also add julienned carrots to the mix if you wanted to.
In a large bowl add flour, then to the flour add salt and sugar. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water, then add to the flour mixture. Then add the milk, oil, vinegar and water. Mix everything together into a ball, add more water if needed (I added 1 more tsp). Tip the dough onto a floured surface and kneed for 15 minutes until elastic and smooth. Then put in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Put it in a warm place and let it proof for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
After 2 hours tip the dough onto a clean surface and punch it down to remove any air. Then sprinkle 1.5 tsp of baking powder over the dough. Kneed for another 5 minutes. Then roll into a a long log and cut into 1 inch pieces, makes about 18. Roll each piece into a ball then with a rolling pin roll the dough into a 4 cm long oval. With your fingers rub a tiny bit of oil on the surface and then fold the dough over. There you have it! A bao bun. Place individual buns on individual pieces of parchment paper, or line the bottom of your steamer with perforated parchment paper. Put all the buns on a tray, cover and let it sit for another hour and a half.
Fill a pot halfway with water and bring to a gentle boil. Place the steamer on top of the pot filled with the buns and let it steam for 9 minutes. No peaking! After the 9 minutes is up remove steamer from the pot and open the lid, be careful the steam is hot. Gently remove the buns, I used a fork because they were very hot. There you have it- freshly steamed buns. Fill it with the pork or jackfruit, pickled cucumbers, cilantro, sliced green onion, chopped nuts, hoisin and sririacha. Enjoy,