Sausage and Kimchi Bao

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Yup. Sausage and kimchi because that’s what’s in it, not Char Siu (or Cha Siu, or Char Siew, or however you want to spell it). I got the idea off a food mag years ago, but I forgot where, and I’ve forgotten the details, so we kinda winged it.

Dough for the Bao:

1 tablespoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lard, or coconut oil, or Spectrum or other vegetable shortening, or canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon baking powder

Filling:

1 pound sausage meat
1/4 cup kimchi, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar

If using instant yeast, combine all ingredients except baking powder in bowl of electric mixer fitted with bread dough hook or other bread dough attachment. When adding water I withhold about 1/2 cup until the dough ingredients are almost thoroughly mixed, so I can judge better if less or more water is needed. I then add more water a tablespoon or so at a time. The dough needs to come together in a smooth ball and should not be tacky or stick to your fingers.

If using active dry yeast, dissolve in a bit of the water + a pinch of the sugar and let stand 10 minutes to proof before adding in the rest of the ingredients.

Knead dough in machine until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (If kneading by hand, knead for about 15.)
Add baking powder and knead 3 more minutes to incorporate. Form into a ball and let rise, covered, in lightly-greased bowl, until doubled, approximately 2 hours depending on heat of your kitchen.

While dough is rising, combine filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Cut parchment/wax paper into 1 1/2 inch-squares.

Cut into half and form each into a log. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces and form into a ball. Flatten with your fingers or a rolling pin, making edges thinner than the center to facilitate closing. Fill with ~1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons sausage mixture and pleat edges together to enclose filling. Place on piece of parchment or wax paper and let rise on baking sheet or other flat surface, lightly greased and loosely covered with plastic wrap, about 45 minutes. Transfer to steamer and steam 15-20 minutes over medium heat.

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