Pork Bao Background
Most people are probably familiar with pork bao. It seems like bao are in somewhat of a renaissance lately. There was a Pixar short last year that revolved around a mom making bao for her family. They’re all the rage at food trucks. I even had some at an airport in St. Louis! That’s right, it’s even a Midwest airport food now.
So what’s great about them? Well they are portable, no silverware needed. You can put virtually anything you want inside them as the filling. Pork bao is the OG, but I’ve seen like mango habanero BBQ beef before. If it tastes good, it can go in the middle.
The prep work might seem like a lot but it isn’t bad. I didn’t mind making the dough. Making dumpling wrappers on the other hand, never do that. You will hate life itself (more on that later). But a cool thing you can do with this is make a double batch, and then freeze any left over that you don’t eat. Now you’ve got a whole weeks worth of work lunches. Or just snacks that you can heat up in the microwave whenever you are hungry. They reheat very well.
Also, I’m not quite sure if you use up all the filling in this recipe. If you don’t, just eat the leftover filling. That’s what I ended up doing. It’s that good okay… After we cooked it of course! Don’t eat raw ground pork. That’s a horrible idea.
If you’re interested in Chinese food more familiar to you, might I recommend my orange chicken recipe? A friend of mine told me it’s the best he’s ever had! Or, if you’d like to try a different kind of bao, here’s a Taiwanese pork belly version.
- 1 lb ground pork
- ½ tbsp ginger minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 pinch Chinese five spice optional
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp black bean chili oil optional
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp instant yeast
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ cup chives minced
- ½ cup green onions minced
- For best results, marinate the pork the night before you plan to make the bao. If pressed for time, a couple hours before works too.
- Add yeast to slightly warm water and wait 10 minutes to activate.
- Add flour and salt to yeasted water, knead until smooth and elastic.
- Transfer into an oiled bowl and let rest for 2-3 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Cut up the chives and green onion. Add more or less to your liking.
- Heat up a skillet on high heat with vegetable oil covering the bottom in a thin layer. Add the pork and fry the pork for about 5 minutes.
- Once the pork is only slightly pink, add the chives and green onion. For for about 2 more minutes, let them wilt slightly. Add a little soy sauce and salt if desired.
- Take the filling off the heat.
Creating The Bao
- Roll the dough into a snake and cut about 10 equal sections of dough.
- Roll each portion of dough into a flat disc.
- Put a large spoonful of filling in the middle and pinch the dough together at the top.
- Steam the bao for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Take off the heat and enjoy!