We had just finished our tour around the hutongs (alleys) of Beijing when we saw a lady with a small cart selling these steaming buns. I asked her in Mandarin, “What is that?” and she replied “Zhuròu baozi”-which means pork bun. When I bit into it, I loved how the coriander and leek complemented the pork in this traditional bun.
Ingredients for Baozi
175ml/6fl oz/3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp fast-acting dried yeast
350g/12oz/scant 3 cups plain(all-purpose)flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
50g/1 3/4oz/ 1/4 cup caster(superfine)sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
500g/1lb 2oz minced(ground)pork
3 leeks, finely chopped
5 sprigs of coriander(cilantro), finely chopped
5cm/2in piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tbsp caster(superfine)sugar
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp potato starch
In a small bowl, mix the water with the yeast.
Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl and add the sugar and salt. Gradually add the yeast mixture and the sesame oil and mix until it forms a firm dough. Knead for 15 minutes until smooth. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix in a clockwise direction until the mixture is paste-like, do not put it in a food processor. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly foured work surface and knead lightly. Divide the dough into two equal parts; shape each part into a log and divide into four equal pieces. Roll out each piece into an 8cm/3in diameter circle, keeping the rolled-out dough covered with a damp tea towel.
Wet your index finger with water and moisten the outer rim of a circle of dough. Place 1 heaped tablespoon of filling in the centre of the circle. If you are right-handed, hold the dough in the cupped palm of your left hand, or gently but firmly on a lightly foured worktop. Bring the dough up around the filling and pinch the edges together using the thumb and index finger of your right hand, working anticlockwise while turning the bun clockwise, creating little pleats all the way round. Close the top of the bun by twisting the pleated edge together and pinching to completely seal in the filling (see pictures bellow). Reverse this if you areleft-handed. Repeat to make eight buns.
Line a large bamboo steamer with baking parchment (this will stop the buns from sticking). Place the completed baozi in the steamer and let them sit for 20 minutes before steaming, this will make the dough even more fluffy.
Place a trivet or round cake rack in a wok and fill the wok halfway with boiling water. Cover the steamer basket with its lid and place in the wok; steam over a high heat for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
If you don’t have bamboo steamer, you can also use this.