Yes, this is super late. But we’ve moved countries, stayed in four different houses, are looking for our own place and I’m pregnant again! Sheesh. Nothing like keeping things interesting.
I’m sure you picked up from the last post that food has been a big part of this adventure for us. I’ve done quite a few cooking classes in our time here, mostly at The Hutong, but the one thing that seemed to have escaped the menu was baozi, or steamed buns.
Luckily, our ayi is a very good cook, so I asked her to teach me.
The hardest thing with ayi is to get her to teach you something from the start. I don’t know if this is a common ayi problem, but she wants to reduce my effort in the kitchen, so she pre-prepared the filling and dough. Annoyingly, I really wanted to watch that being put together, as it’s so much easier to replicate later if you get your hands dirty, however, she did tell me the recipe.
- 1+kg SR Flour
- Add water until the dough comes together. Knead.
- Allow it to rise for about half an hour.
- The dough should be softer than jiaozi dough.
- 500g minced meat (we used pork)
- oil (we used olive oil)
- sesame oil
- fresh ginger, grated (or finely chopped if you can do it small enough)
- Chinese five spice
- ground cinnamon
- spring onion, finely chopped*
- tofu, finely chopped*
- cabbage, finely chopped (salt and leave to sit to remove water)*
- mushroom, finely chopped (香菇, xianggu)*
*Because I am not an expert chopper, unlike my ayi, I would use the food processor whizzy machine for these ingredients.
The tricky part of this whole recipe is really the construction. Instead of rolling the dough traditionally, Ayi turned it around in her hand and poked a hole in the middle, teasing it into a donut shape!
She then broke the long “strands” into pieces. They were then flattened into circles, the filling was place in the middle and she magically shaped them with her hand, balancing the base in the palm of her hand and using her dextrous fingers to close the buns.
This is one of mine… ayi’s were much prettier
Really, the magic is in watching the construction. It’s just too hard to describe. So you can find some short videos that I took here:
We steamed these babies for 15 minutes.
And they got the tick of approval from the little one.