The background to how I came to fall in love with bao buns is not what you might expect to hear. Almost a year after visiting an Asian tapas restaurant in Iceland I finally made them after dreaming of the pork belly bao buns we had that night most nights however these were so good ,we all loved them ,kids included, so I can predict I will have a supply ready in the freezer whenever the cravings hit.
I have yet to complete my blog post of Iceland but if you love food and nature then make sure when normal life post Covid resumes to add it to your next travel destination list !
Now there is a bit of prep in making the dough for these but once made as I mentioned you can freeze them and just steam from frozen so I suggest making a big batch and make more than what you think you need as these are so good you will all be fighting over the last one.
Think of a cross between the softest fluffiest white bread roll and a dumpling and you have a bao bun!
So I wanted to recreate a dish as close to the one I had in Iceland, except I had no pork belly that day so I decided to slow cook a shoulder of pork for eight hours and as a second dish I made a variation of my crispy honey chicken ,but instead made a king prawn version and served both fillings with pickled carrot.
Amazing is the only word !!
I will break this down into three recipes for you
1 The bao buns
2. The slow cooked Asian pulled pork
3. Crispy honey king prawn
Bao Buns ingredients
Fast action dried yeast 2 tablespoons
500 gram plain flour
3 tablespoon caster sugar
50ml full fat milk
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1.5 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoon baking powder
( if you follow me on Instagram I do a step by step video and will show it’s actually quite easy to make these than what the first read might appear )
Mix your yeast with a few drops of warmish water and some caster sugar (teaspoon and allow the yeast to activate.
Now mix all your dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Next add all the wet ingredients to the dry except the water ,along with the yeast mix and turn your mixer on slowly. I used the dough hook on my mixer. Add the water until you are happy with the consistency, you may need a little more or a little less but you will be able to judge the consistency . After two minutes on slow turn the dial up to a medium speed and allow the dough to form, it should all nearly form and stick to your breadhook when ready. You want the dough to feel firm but bouncy and not be too wet or sticky.
Now dust the surface with some flour and put your dough out and knead for a few minutes. Then put into an oil wiped bowl and cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for approx two hours. Make sure its in a warm room.
When the dough has risen put it back onto the floured worktop, flatten it and then roll it out into a sausage shape and to be approx.3cm in width. Now cut this into fourteen pieces ,roll each of these into small balls, place into individual cupcake cases and brush oil over each.
Next roll out each ball into a flat circle about the size of your palm. I used an oiled straw to put in the middle as I folded them over and then pulled back out the straw. They will resemble a small closed pitta. When these are all done put them back onto their individual flatted cupcake cases and allow them to prove again for upwards of an hour so they double in size.
Now they are ready to steam, they take approximately eight minutes to puff up to their full deliciousness , pull open your buns and stuff with whatever filling you choose and enjoy every mouthful! They are worth the time and effort and I am sure you will agree 🙂
Pickled carrot and cucumber
Very thinly slice carrot and cucumber and coat in some water, two teaspoons of rice vinegar and two teaspoons of sugar and allowing to pickle for at least one hour if not for a few hours, the longer you leave it the better.
Slow cooked Asian pulled pork
I cooked these on medium for eight hours with a large pork loin but this would work as well with pork belly, just adjust the times.
Maple Syrup ,be generous pouring this over your meat joint.(honey works as well if you dont have syrup)
Two tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
Two teaspoons of garlic powder
two teaspoons of onion powder
Two teaspoons of smoked paprika
One teaspoon of chilli flakes
Two teaspoons of black pepper
One tablespoon of brown sugar
Three teaspoons of Chinese five spice
Star Anaise -1
Tomato puree -three tablespoons
One beef stockpot whole
Worcestershire sauce 4 tablespoons
Method – cook until it’s falling apart and yummy and sticky, stuff the bao buns with this and add some crunch with the pickled carrot and cucumber and enjoy
Crispy honey King Prawns
Ingredients & Method
King prawns- I served four per bao bun
Panko breadcrumbs mixed with one teaspoon each of tumeric,chinese five spice,onion powder,garlic powder,chilli flakes
Dip your prawn in the egg, then the breadcrumb mix and cook in the airfryer until cooked through . I prefer to use ready cooked prawns for crumbed recipes. If cooking from raw ensure the prawn is pink through before serving.
This isn’t voluminous its just to coat the prawns in before stuffing the bao buns and it works really well with crispy chicken too.
Slice carrot, pepper and onion very thinly and fry off in some sesame oil.
Next to the pan add half a lemon zest,
two tablespoons of soy sauce,
one tablespoon of fish sauce,
one tablespoon of rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
one chicken stock pot with a small amount of water ( approx 150ml)
one teaspoon of chinese five spice,onion powder,garlic powder
Three tablespoons of honey
Simmer all the above on a medium heat until it comes together and forms a sticky sauce, then add your cooked crispy prawns in and coat the fish before serving in the bao bun.
You have above the ingredients for several dishes which work well as starters,lunches and main courses or even for dinner parties such are the amount of combinations you can do here.
The star of this particular blog post is however the steamed bao bun and I cannot wait to come up with more ways of enjoying these delicious Asian buns.
Ps I share videos and clips of the cooking process and all my food related blogs in reeks and stories over on http://www.instagram.com/dodeestodaquiris