Growing up, my dad made a big batch of baos once a year. He filled them with the traditional Vietnamese bao filling of ground pork, egg and Chinese sausage. My other memory of baos are enjoying them at Chinese restaurants on weekend mornings, the soft and pillowy outside, filled with a sweet and saucy pork filling — they’re seriously delicious! These BBQ pork bao buns are super easy and fun to make and all the reason you need to pick up that steamer basket you’ve been eyeing. Stuff them with your favourite fillings like ground chicken, beef and even tofu! Make a big batch, your future self will thank you.
BBQ Pork Bao Buns
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Servings: 12 bao buns
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp neutral oil
150 ml + more warm water
1 ½ cups store-bought BBQ pork, diced
3-4 Tbsp store-bought Char Siu sauce (Chinese BBQ Sauce)
2 Tbsp sliced scallions (about 2 stalks)
2 Tbsp vinegar
Kitchen Bamboo Steamer, Amazon, $59.
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough attachment, add the flour, cornstarch, sugar, yeast, salt, oil and water. Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and forms one ball, about 5-8 minutes.
2. Remove and place the dough on the counter and cover with the bowl for 5 minutes to rest. Cut 12 parchment paper square at 3 x 3-inches. Set on a baking sheet.
3. Dice the BBQ pork into ¼-inch bits. Place in a bowl and toss with the Char Siu sauce (just enough to coat the pork) and sliced scallions.
4. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each piece of dough against a non-floured surface to create smooth round dough balls. Starting with one ball, keeping the rest covered, roll into roughly a 4-5-inch round.
5. Hold the dough piece in your hand, add a heaping Tbsp of the pork mixture into the centre. Start by folding the dough onto itself and pinching the dough together. Work in a circular motion, all the way around. Close the bao by gathering and pinching the dough together at the top. Place on the parchment paper square. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.
6. Place a damp towel over top of the bao buns and place in a warm area to proof until doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes.
7. In the meantime, fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and the vinegar and place the steam basket overtop. About 5 minutes before the baos are ready, bring the water to a boil on high.
8. Once the baos have doubled in size, place in the steam basket about 1 inch apart. Cover with the lid and lower to a medium heat. Let steam for about 14 minutes. If you’re unable to fit all 12 baos in the steamer, place a piece of plastic overtop of the remaining and refrigerate to prevent the dough from further proofing.
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