Baked Mushroom BaoPosted on Dec 14, 2011 | 61 comments
I’ve spared you my ramblings about my deep love of dumplings, Asian buns, and dim sum. Until now. My first experience with dumplings came at a young age in the form of the wanton soup that went hand-in-hand with Chinese take-out. Fast forward many years to the month I spent visiting one of my best friends in China. Obviously, I ate the most incredible dumplings of my life. And I was introduced to the range of dumpling available, the types of skins, fillings, and cooking preparations. I also must admit that New Years day in China secured the place of dumplings as my ultimate hangover food.
For all my love of dumplings, I rarely make them at home. I have a bamboo steamer that comes out on occasion, and have a copy of Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More on my iPad. Considering that dumplings are one of the foods I miss most in Israel, you’d think I would have been all over this. Luckily, this month’s Daring Cooks challenge came to the rescue. Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!
Sara gave us a few different options to choose from, including Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun) Steamed Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun), and Baked Mushroom Bao. Although I can find pork in Israel I decided not to mess around there. I was originally going to try a BBQ chicken filling, but thought the mushroom looked awesome. I also had to make a few other adjustments based on what was available. Oh, and I forgot the egg wash so they are lacking the characteristic luster, but I like the matte look.
I could not believe how well my bao (short for baozi) came out. The dough rose perfectly, the filling was rich and flavorful, and they baked up beautifully. They tasted like something I would get from a bakery in Chinatown. We ate half on the spot and froze the other half to throw in the oven whenever we want a snack. I can’t wait to try making the chicken and pork buns!
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup warm water
- 2½ teaspoons active dried yeast
- 2 cups flour
- 1 egg, slightly beaten (plus another for egg wash, if desired)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup finely diced onion or shallot
- 5½ cups finely chopped mixed mushrooms (I used white button and shitake)
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- Put the sugar and warm water in a bowl and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, until frothy.
- Sift flour into a large bowl.
- Add yeast mixture, egg, oil, and salt and stir.
- Bring the flour mixture together with your hands. The dough will be very sticky at first.
- Place dough on a floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and slightly elastic.
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and sauté until soft, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook until they have rendered down and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin, and sesame oil, cook for another few minutes.
- Mix cornflour and stock together until smooth and add to the mushroom mixture.
- Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.
- Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 200º C/392º F
- Once dough has doubled in size knock back and divide in to 12 portions and shape in to round balls.
- Use a rolling pin, roll out to approximately 2 inches in diameter. Pick the piece of dough up and gently pull the edges to enlarge to about 3 inches. (Doing this keeps the dough slightly thicker in the center and prevents the tops from splitting when baking.)
- Place a good sized tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough circle.
- Gather the edges and seal your bun.
- Place the bun seal side down on your baking tray. Continue with rest of dough.
- Once all buns are complete brush surface with an egg wash, if desired.
- Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.