“Moist, Fluffy Tenderness, Tensile Goodness”
A Baozi (Chinese: 包子) or simply known as Bao, Pau or Pao (Hakka) is a type of steamed, filled, bun/bread-like item in Chinese cuisines (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baozi). As far as the fillings are concerned, there are plentiful varieties, ranging from meat to vegan – sweet and savory. These buns are very popular and widely available in different shapes and sizes, and are eaten at any meal but more often for breakfast or as a portable snack. Having done the official introduction of Pau, here is The VianD humble opinion of what constitutes as a great Pau. The single most important element is the Dough (ie: the skin) – it has to be fluffy tenderness but yet with a slightly tensile texture and doesn’t collapse under the pressures of steaming (or for that matter, even when it is left out cold). Ooo, the Dough itself, after steaming without fillings is known as “Mantau“. Then comes the pleating, which ofcos define the appearance (this is the part that The VianD failed miserably…masterful butter-fingers at work *😔*). Lastly but not least, ofcos – flavorful fillings of any kind (both sweet or savory). Btw, if U are wondering why the Pau presented here is not as snowy-white as the ones U get outside, bcos – almost all commercial Pau have Ammonia that gives it a whitish, soft, almost sandy-fine textured (now, U know *😱*). But no despair my friend…*😉*, there is a simple healthier trick that will help a little on this aspect as described in the Ingredients/Optional section below (not proven though *😄*). Anyway, here is The VianD first take on “Baozi – Sang Yoke Pau (Sliced Pork Pau)“.
DOUGH (SKIN) :
- Sifted 360g of Pau Flour (or Hong Kong flour)
- 180-200ml of water
- 1 1/2 tsp of Instant Yeast (mix with 2 tsp of lukewarm water)
- 2 tbsp of Cisco All-Vegetable Shortening
- 1 1/2 tsp of Double Action Baking Powder (not Baking Soda)
- 50-60g of Sugar
- a pinch of Salt (Optional)
- pieces of squarish greaseproof paper
- Here are The VianD preferred Brand (no particular importance).
- A mixture of sliced lean Pork and Pork belly (U can opt for pure lean pork) – marinated with Ginger juice, Salt, Sugar, white/black pepper, light soy and a touch of Oyster sauce, Sesame oil and Shaoxing wine. Marinate for at least a couple of hrs.
- Thinly julienned Ginger strips, finely sliced Scallion/Pasley and diced Onion.
- A few drops of Vinegar in the steaming boiling water (Seriously, just a few drops, U don’t want any vinegary taste or smell on ur Pau, do U ?!!?). This is supposed to result in a better dough texture and a more whitish Pau. How true ?!? Absolutely NO IDEA !!! *🙃* All to taste. ** Note : Just dash/pinch of everything, if U prefer a stronger intensity of an ingredient flavor, simply add a little extra of that ingredient/spice – no rocket scientific measurement here. Always taste your Seasoning !!!
- Step 1 : Start by sautéing all the Onion, Ginger and some finely chopped Garlic, till aromatic and Onion turned kinda translucent on medium/low heat. On medium heat, add the Pork and saute till Pork turned whitish, add a little water, turn up the heat, bring to boil. Turn heat to low and let it simmer for a couple of minutes or till sauce thicken, U can add a little Cornstarch mixture at this point as thickening agent. Dish out to let it cool down a little before popping into the Fridge, this will help the fillings to harden a little, making it much easier to handle during the pleating process. Note: Notice the Scallion and Pasley were left out at this juncture, mix these into the filling only when U are ready to pleat, this way, these delicate greens will not wilt too much.
- Make sure U have enough fillings. The VianD miserably misjudged the amount needed and that is why U the Paus presented here has thick skin *😅😅*.
- Step 2 : Mix all the Doug Ingredients with 3/4 of the water (add the rest if too dry during the mixing process) in the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer to low-medium speed and let the mixer do its job. It will be sticky (loosen the mixture tat stick to the side of the bowl if needed) at the beginning but after a while (abt 5-8 mins) everything should hold together into a lump. Continue mixing till it is no more sticky and smooth.
- Take the Doug out from the bowl and give it some good kneads with ur hand and round it up into a smooth round ball. Put it back into the bowl, cover with damp cloth, let it rest for 20-30 mins (if cloudy weather, a little longer) – let the Yeast does its magic. It should grow considerably in size – almost double with a smooth almost shining surface.
- Sprinkle a little flour over some smooth surface (U hardly need any flour at all if the Doug is done properly). A few more good kneads and rolls into an elongated cylinder. Cut to 40-50g pieces (or whatever size U fancy), roll into balls. If U are a new and at this and relatively slow, cover the balls with a dry/damp cloth.
- Flatten each ball, roll into a circle with the middle slightly thicker (side thinner – easier to pleat). Spoon in the fillings onto the center (do not over-filled) and pleat, seal it and put it on a piece of paper. Let it rest for 20-30 min, again the size should grow a little. Do not overproof else the Pau will wrinkle when steamed. Steam under rapid boiling water for abt 8 mins, off the heat, let the Pau sit in the Steamer for another abt 3 mins before uncovering to ur steamy hot moist, fluffy tenderness and tensile “Baozi – Sang Yoke Pau (Sliced Pork Pau)“.
- Notice how the Paus are all laughing at The VianD ?!? Well, that is the result of a masterful “butter-fingers” pleating skill… *😂😂* TERRIBLE !!!