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Baozi recipes...

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For the restaurant, I made char siu baos. For family, I make two other kinds of filling: chicken,Chinese mushroom,lapcheung; curried chicken. If I have left over dough, I use 1/4 of a piece of lapcheung for each "pigs-in-blanket"...


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Yes. The dried flower mushrooms. Stir-fry diced chicken, onion, lapcheong, slivers of ginger, and rehydrated mushrooms in oyster sauce. I finish it off with a thick sauce of cornstarch and oyster sauce. Let cool, make into baozi.

For "pigs-in-a blanket" I should have said 1/2 a lapcheung instead of a quarter. No sauce is needed because of the full-bodied flavour of the lapcheung. Some people, like my husband, still wants sweet chili sauce, sirracha, or Saigon chili oil for his.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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So the vegetable filling...was it just a selection of vegetables sauteed together? I was thinking finishing them in some rich chicken stock would make a cabbage stuffing more savoury.

Vegetable fillings - a common filling for dumplings or baozi would be something like this, all chopped together (food processor is easiest):

* some sort of green - in Shanghai, jìcài (荠菜), or "Shepherd's Purse" is very common (this is not the same thing as jie cai (type of mustard green) or jie lan (Chinese broccoli)). Generally can't find it fresh here, but should be available frozen. You should not get rid of the bottom part, even if it looks a little dirty - this part has the best flavor. You could also use napa cabbage or baby bai cai. If you're using fresh greens, boil them first.

* wood ear and / or shiitake mushroom

* doufu gan (lit 'dry tofu'; essentially baked / pressed tofu)

* bean thread noodles [optional]

* grated ginger

* zha cai or other pickled vegetable.

* toasted sesame oil

[and maybe some salt to taste if the zha cai doesn't make it salty enough]

Usually there's no garlic, chive, onion, or scallion in these because it's a common vegetarian filling, and Buddhist vegetarians generally don't eat these pungent foods, but you could add some scallion greens too.

My gf threw up the rough method she used for dumpling filling here:

http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2010/02/bok-choy-and-baked-tofu-potstickers/

You can use roughly the same method for bao. And to be honest, I think pretty much any normal wheat bread dough will give Ok results.

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Thanks. Actually, I live in Suzhou, outside of Shanghai, so I have the full range of Chinese greens at my disposal. I get my greens from an organic farm, and usually rinse and blanche pretty thoroughly. I've not seen 荠菜 at my local market, but that doesn't mean it's not out there. I'll have a look around for it.

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Baozi are done and delicious. I followed FD's instructions from "Revolutionary Cuisine" for spicy pork dumplings.

I doubled her dough recipe because I wanted to make enough for freezing.

gallery_41378_6780_236994.jpg

I also deviated from her filling recipe and added a cup of sauteed greens - some random greens that came with my CSA bag - as well as a half cup of chopped shiitake mushrooms.

gallery_41378_6780_2024.jpg

The filling in this recipe has you beat in five tablespoons of cold water into the meat. Is that to make it more tender? Or to help it cook inside the dough?

gallery_41378_6780_116860.jpg

I lined my steamer with some oiled cheesecloth, but there was still a bit of sticking. Does it matter how quick you pull them out of the pan in terms of stickiness? I thought the ones I left sit for a few minute more were harder to get out.

I was surprised how easy they were to make, and how non-fatty but delicious the fillings are. I love the street dumplings in my neighborhood, but I can't help but think that there's a reason they taste so rich. I'm thinking: fat.

They were so good even my husband, who is on record as baozi-neutral, snarfled several hot out of the steamer.

He has requested pizza-man, a la Japan, for my next attempt. No idea how I'd get the filling in, though.

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The water thing is something I've seen in Lion's Head meatballs too...I understand that it makes the meat soft and tender instead of forming a hard shrunken ball in the middle of the dumpling.

Pizza-man...I used a pizza-y flavored ratatouille or caponata when I made some. The word is anchovies...but I guess the word could also be ham etc.

Is the Dunlop book one you'd recommend for Chinese food in English? I've been using Japanese-language Chinese cookbooks for so long that I really want to know what's going on in English!


Edited by helenjp (log)

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I like your additions to the pork filling, especially the shitake mushrooms as they are so flavourful.

The addition of water and beating it into the filling makes it "fluffy" or "fow" in Cantonese. Otherwise, the pork will become a hard, harsh lump of meat.

I put my baozi on a square of wax paper or cupcake paper liner. There is still a tiny bit of dough sticking to the paper but never enough to tear the bao on the bottom. My family will clean off the bits left on the paper! The cheesecloth may be too textured, so it may cause more sticking.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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The water thing is something I've seen in Lion's Head meatballs too...I understand that it makes the meat soft and tender instead of forming a hard shrunken ball in the middle of the dumpling.

Pizza-man...I used a pizza-y flavored ratatouille or caponata when I made some. The word is anchovies...but I guess the word could also be ham etc.

Is the Dunlop book one you'd recommend for Chinese food in English? I've been using Japanese-language Chinese cookbooks for so long that I really want to know what's going on in English!

Thanks for the pizza-man tip. Do you put cheese in yours?

I do like "Revolutionary Cuisine" and use it quite often; not sure how it compares to Japanese Chinese cookbooks. I find the flavours in this book really reflect the food I find in China, though.

I like your additions to the pork filling, especially the shitake mushrooms as they are so flavourful.

The addition of water and beating it into the filling makes it "fluffy" or "fow" in Cantonese. Otherwise, the pork will become a hard, harsh lump of meat.

I put my baozi on a square of wax paper or cupcake paper liner. There is still a tiny bit of dough sticking to the paper but never enough to tear the bao on the bottom. My family will clean off the bits left on the paper! The cheesecloth may be too textured, so it may cause more sticking.

I noticed that the pork filling was quite tender. It's a nice trick to know - if I'd tried to mock up my own filling, I never would have done that. The shiitakes and the cabbage really supplemented the filling, I thought - gave it a bit of crunch and depth of flavour. I think they sell dumpling steaming paper at the shops here, I'll have a look the next time I'm at the shop. There's also a dumpling "net" I've noticed for sale; it's what inspired me to use the cheesecloth in the first place.

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Pizza-man - I don't use cheese (been a while though). I recommend a caponata filling!

Thanks for the comment on the Dunlop book. If it's what you are seeing around you, that's a great recommendation.

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Yes, I've been extremely happy with both of her books that I've got, although I've been cooking from "Revolutionary Cuisine" for longer. I just picked up her Sichuan book recently. I'm now waiting with bated breath for her next installment. Dongbei? Yunnan? Fingers crossed.

I froze the baozi and had some reheated for lunch. What a great freezer staple for the winter! And the filling stayed fresh and soft. I can't wait to experiment with curry baozi, chicken baozi, pizza baozi, and the rest.

I wonder, if using ground chicken, should water also be incorporated?

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When I use ground chicken, I add water, a little oil, a little cornstarch, and diced onion. Chicken is leaner than ground pork, so I do add the above ingredients.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I put my baozi on a square of wax paper or cupcake paper liner. There is still a tiny bit of dough sticking to the paper but never enough to tear the bao on the bottom. My family will clean off the bits left on the paper! The cheesecloth may be too textured, so it may cause more sticking.

A local restaurant/buffet uses lettuce/cabbage leaves at the bottom of the steamer rack (I tend to think it's lettuce since the leaves are so thin after the steaming). I did notice the baozi still sometimes stick but if parts of the leaf come off with the baozi, it's all edible.


“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

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A local restaurant/buffet uses lettuce/cabbage leaves at the bottom of the steamer rack (I tend to think it's lettuce since the leaves are so thin after the steaming). I did notice the baozi still sometimes stick but if parts of the leaf come off with the baozi, it's all edible.

Toliver beat me to it, I also found this tip in a restuarant some time last year and now always use lettuce leaves to line my steamer - haven't yet had any sticking issues.

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That's a great tip, thanks. I got a whole pack of chives in my veggie bag this week, so we'll take a spin with those. Although I suppose they're more traditionally used for jiaozi fillings.

The baozi have really been working out as packed lunches this week, though. Right out of the freezer into my lunch bag, then a quick nuke in the microwave before eating. I think I'll make some instant miso soup nuggets this weekend to round it out as a meal, now that it has gotten cold.

I want to make two different kinds of filling, and mark them some way so I can tell the difference - Maggiethecat mentioned in another topic that a chopstick dipped in red dye can be used to put a red dot on the top of them, but I'm lacking red dye. What else could I use? A grind of pepper? Sesame seeds on top?

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What about a dot of chilli oil?


Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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Dark soya would do the same. My mom used a large diameter straw to make circles rather than dots. You could get real fancy and make the Olympic rings!

You got me going here, nakji. Got my char siu done and will be making my grandson's fav. tomorrow - char siu baozi!


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Char siu bao are my absolute favourite. There's a place around the corner that makes them with quite a lot of cassia in the filling, and I think they're the best ones I've ever tasted. Do char siu bao usually use baking powder as the leavening, or could you credibly make them with a yeast dough?

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I think the char siu baos I've had, made with yeast, were baked. Never thought to add cassia in the filling, but I suppose the 5-spice powder that I add, once in a while, would be similar.

I did the experiment today, some baos with lettuce as the liner, and others with my usual cupcake liners. I found the lettuce ones had more moisture on the bottom of the baos, giving it an "uncooked" appearance. There was nothing stuck to the bottoms other than the aroma of lettuce. They tasted fine and I tried a piece with the lettuce on. The only real drawback may be when you want to freeze the baos. Not sure how the wet bottoms would turn out - may become doughy? I think I'll keep using the paper liners.

Need to process the pictures then post. Hope I can figure out how as it's been a lonnnnngggg time!


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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So the lettuce stayed stuck to the baozi, like a paper liner? Somehow I thought it would stay in the steamer. I wonder if I oiled the lettuce, would that allow the baozi to lift off? Because I think you're right about them getting soggy in the freezer.

I'd love to see your pictures. I've never tried baked char siu, either - are they just prepared as normal and baked in the oven rather than steaming?

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No. Sorry. The lettuce came off with the bao but slipped off easily. But I could taste lettuce on the bottom of the bao. Not offensive, but not MY baozi... :raz:

I'm going to upload the pictures; at least; I'm going to try!


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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