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Chris Amirault

Char Siu Bao--Cook-Off 2

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Jack.... YUM!!!!

I vote that you bake them so I can see and mentally compare the differences. Or maybe I should vote that you steam them so I can see if I did ok?? hmmm, decisions, decisions!

I have to say that never in a thousand years would I ever had thought to try to make this so THANKS chris and the rest of all you for great ideas, helpful info and the support!

Waiting to steam.....

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Kristin, I'm guessing that it's probably easier for you to find Shaoxing wine where you are now than back home in NEO. :smile: Shaoxing has more of an "aged" quality - sake and mirin are not at all equivalent. Ben has already expressed doubt about the importance of using the "right" alcohol in these recipes, but if you can can get your hands on the "real thing", why not?

BTW, the Shaoxing wine I bought in SF Chinatown is in conventional western wine bottles. The traditional stuff I saw in Chinese restaurants in Shizuoka Prefecture (close to your home!) was in the historic clay jars, with commensurate prices. Get ready for serious sticker shock there! The cheap stuff in glass bottles should do fine for marinating pork for char siu bao.

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just came back from the store and they had a different type of fermented bean curd than the one I am used to seeing. This was fermented with rice and actually had whole pieces of rice in it and it was a very light brown color. Is this a completely different product?

I aslo picked up a new Japanese cooking magazine because as I was flipping through they have a special section all on bao! Maybe I will try one of the Japanese versions as well....

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Kristin, I'm guessing that it's probably easier for you to find Shaoxing wine where you are now than back home in NEO. :smile:  Shaoxing has more of an "aged" quality - sake and mirin are not at all equivalent. Ben has already expressed doubt about the importance of using the "right" alcohol in these recipes, but if you can can get your hands on the "real thing", why not?

BTW, the Shaoxing wine I bought in SF Chinatown is in conventional western wine  bottles. The traditional stuff I saw in Chinese restaurants in Shizuoka Prefecture (close to your home!) was in the historic clay jars, with commensurate prices. Get ready for serious sticker shock there! The cheap stuff in glass bottles should do fine for marinating pork for char siu bao.

Edsel, you are very right! Northeast Ohio is not the best place to find Asian products.....

I was just digging through my cupboards and look what I found!

gallery_6134_549_1106449271.jpg

It is probably a couple years old, I had to dust it off before taking the picture... :blink:

Is it still good?

It is the Pagoda brand and this is the one that you can find in most stores in Japan, is it any good? I must have bought it when I was going through a Chinese kick about 3 years ago.

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Edsel, my familiarity with the teahouse (cha lao) style of bao comes mainly from eating all kinds of them in Toronto and Vancouver, cities which arguably have the best Chinese food outside of China and Hong Kong. Almost all of the bao I eat in the dimsum places and restaurants there have been the baking powder type. However there is the Vietnamese style which is larger and are of the yeasty variety. These suckers are huge, about the size of a softball and my favourite of these are chicken filled. In Hong Kong most of the "inside" restaurants serve a baking powder style bao, yet most of the street hawkers sell the yeasty type. Go figure.

As for alcohol in the bao recipes, I say whatever turns your crank. I have a very pragmatic approach towards cooking...I am a stickler with the essential components of any recipe. As for anything else that may or may not make a huge difference, if it's available I'll use it, but I wouildn't lose one wink of a good night's sleep if I didn't have something that's not crucial to the recipe. Who knows, if you happen to use rum or scotch instead of ShiaoShing, you might be surprised that the bao might taste better, if slightly "different". :wink:

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Since japanese and vietnamese versions of bao were mentioned i wonder how about the korean one?

Many years ago when i lived in far east of russia, a typical street food was "pyan-se" - a big steamed bun with very spicy filling of chinese cabbage and ground pork, made and sold by koreans.

Recently i finally decided to track down a recipe but so far failed - none of the korean cookbooks seem to mention it. I also tried to google in russian, and this helped, a bit - i got the idea of filling, but i'm still not sure about the skin. The russian recipes for skin all have yeast in them.

The korean bun was very thin skinned like made from unleavened dough but on the other hand the texture was quite different from the skin of say steamed dumpling. My memory of course can play tricks but somehow i remember it being soft and not slippery or shewy like dumpling's one and having some layers to it. So yeh maybe there is some leavening agent involved.

Is it possible that buns were steamed without resting?

Thoughts?

Thanks, helena

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My bao recipe calls for BOTH yeast and baking powder.....

So does mine (it's Kenneth Lo's). After the first rise, you knead in the baking powder. I've forgotten and left out the baking powder, and it didn't seem to make much difference.

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OK,just returned from the store with ingredients for Char siui,ll be making mine from a recipe off the net.The following ingredients will be in my marinade(very limited choices out here in bumfuck)

5 tbl light soy sauce

3tbl. dark soy sauce

5tbl. honey(in lieu of maltose)

4 tbl.table sugar

4 tbl.rice wine vinegar

4 tbl. hoisin sauce

4 cloves garlic

red food color

in a sauce pan cook all ingredients(minus red food color)

for just 2 minutes,let cool

i chose a rib end boneless loin(nicely fatted)which i will cut into strips and marinade for 24 hours.

i purchased a disposable camera to take some pics,im guessing i can get these processed into a cd for downloading??someone pm me

To the kitchen!!!!! :blink:

edited to add a knuckle of ginger and 4 green onions also


Edited by phifly04 (log)

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Finished our bao last night but had to eat a few on the way out the door as we were running late to a friend's b-day party. priorities right?? :wink:

gallery_16100_1_1106504144.jpg

Steaming in our double decker steamer. The first batch I crowded and they were a bit hard to get out. These I didn't and it worked much better. Steamed for 10 mins. with rapidly boiling water. Covered of course.

gallery_16100_1_1106504191.jpg

Cooled them on a rack for just a few minutes. As you can see the buns did not get a perfect round and smooth skin. And they are a bit bigger than I've had. Darn Americans always 'super sizing' everything! :laugh:

gallery_16100_1_1106504171.jpg

YUM!! They taste soooooo good!! Sweet, savory. The dough is awesome- very pillowy and light!!

I packed half into the freezer. The rest we will have for lunch today.

I used waxed paper and it seemed to stick pretty badly. Dumb question for the day...is there a 'right' and 'wrong' side to wax paper? Do people usually use parchment??

We will absolutely make this again!!!

I can't wait to see everyone else's!!

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Those look good, Wendy!

I use silicone baking parchment.

I'm making baked bao, essentially the recipe I posted above.

To a baker it looks like a very rich dough - all those eggs, butter and sugar, so I expect it to be slow moving.

Thce Char Sui got a bit overcooked, but still OK. I like the texture contrast given by the chewy skin. The filling has onions, shitake mushrooms and young leeks. Slaked cornflour is in the mug just in shot.

gallery_7620_135_1106504593.jpggallery_7620_135_1106504635.jpg

gallery_7620_135_1106504665.jpggallery_7620_135_1106504710.jpg

gallery_7620_135_1106504741.jpg

The ones on the bottom are the left over dough.

Just now waiting for them to double - maybe another hour, then eggwash and bake. I'm wondering if I should retard them in the refrigerator overnight, and bake tomorrow which is what I would do for conventional bread. to give a finer crust.

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In the spirit of inquiry I baked half off, and have retarded the other half in the firdge to bake tomorrow. We will see if there is any difference in the crust.

These baked about 30 mins at 400F, with a burst of steam at the beginning (half a cup of water flung onto the hot oven floor) to gelatanise and crisp the crust.

gallery_7620_135_1106511378.jpggallery_7620_135_1106511416.jpg

Filling is quite chunky and while moist, not gloopy, but a good texture.

I used some of the Chilli Pixian Fermented Bean Paste in the marinade for the char sui, with some of the left over marinade to moisten the filling, and the flavour (and a little of the chilli) come through deliciously.

The bread is what one would expect from a rich dough. Crust crisp and thin. Maybe too much filling and not centred.

I've no idea how authentic these are, but they taste good! Had them for supper with a bowl of chicken soup.

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Here is the pork after cooking...

gallery_17623_661_1106509573.jpg

Filling is ready

gallery_17623_661_1106510273.jpg

Preparing the dough, I used a tortilla press so my 5 yr. old could help

gallery_17623_661_1106510743.jpg

My Buns!

gallery_17623_661_1106509810.jpg

These were wonderful! We made pork and chicken and found the pork to be tastier and to have a better texture. The pork held the sauce better as well.

I'm new to posting photos, advice on how to make them small would be extremely helpful!

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I used waxed paper and it seemed to stick pretty badly. Dumb question for the day...is there a 'right' and 'wrong' side to wax paper? Do people usually use parchment??

I use lettuce leaves--they get all soggy and disgusting, but they peel right off.

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fou that looks great!!!

beccaboo- but what if you are steaming them and then freezing them? I think maybe we didn't make our paper squares large enough, fou's look better.

By the way we are on our third one each for lunch right now! mmmmm....

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Thanks lmf! I need to learn how to play with color as my buns look a bit anemic in the post. I used parchment paper underneath tha bao as I didn't have any waxed paper in the house. I had no problems with sticking but I did oil the tortilla press as I was flattening the dough and I think that could have helped.

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I have no parchment, so will be using wax paper, thanks to these hints I will try oiling it first. Stores open in 5 minutes I am off to by some pork belly, bao is on the menu for tonight!!

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I used to use wax paper, then got the idea to use the paper liners for cupcakes. The medium size ones are a perfect fit.

Quite often, I make 3 different fillings:, one is char sui, another one is a filling of shitaki mushrooms, ginger, lapcheung (Chinese sausage ), and chicken stir-fried with oyster sauce. The 3rd. is curry chicken and onion.

This is when I use the coloured cupcake liners . . . a different colour for each filling.

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I got my pork shoulder/butt marinating this afternoon, and have been reading about bao dough all day long. I think I'm ready to roast the pig and get stuffin'!

Here are the ingredients that I used for the two different marinades:

gallery_19804_437_1106537239.jpg

One is very sauce-intensive (Eileen Lo's) and the other (Charmaine Solomon's) is less saucy and includes garlic and ginger. I added szechuan peppercorn (my Penzey's five spice didn't include it bc of the restrictions, but I got some new stuff recently in Boston's Chinatown) and fermented bean paste to both recipes, even though neither mentioned the szechuan peppercorn and only Lo mentioned the bean curd. I have to say, that fermented bean curd is magical stuff for me.... :wub:

Here's what the two sauces looked like:

gallery_19804_437_1106537255.jpg

Left is Lo's, right is Solomon's; you can tell by amount and color (Lo's is much darker).

Finally, here's how the pork looked completely broken down and marinated:

gallery_19804_437_1106537263.jpg

I have to say I found the breaking down of all the pork most satisfying. I think I'm going to start a thread about my butchering jones! Meanwhile, on a snow day (no school -- which I run!) tomorrow we make the bao!!

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not the best picture, but....

gallery_6134_549_1106539664.jpg

the pork belly marinating

Corrine Trang's recipe calls for honey, hoisin, soy sauce, sugar, shaoxing wine and garlic. I had to leave out the fermented bean curd as it wasn't at either of the stores I went to this morning and she also calls for red food coloring but I don't find it necessary.

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I am going to start roasting the pork,This is where i am going to break with tradition and roast my pork using the low and slow method.250f for 4 hours,then blasted at 500f the final 15 minutes,my dough ecipe is from the Philadelphia Inquirer

1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast

2 tbl. sugar

1 1/2 cups warm water(110F)

2 1/2 cups a.p flour

1 1/2 cups cake flou

1 tsp. salt

happy pics to follow :huh:

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beccaboo- but what if you are steaming them and then freezing them? I think maybe we didn't make our paper squares large enough, fou's look better..

I don't know--we always eat most of them right up, then microwave the leftovers for lunch the next day. One time I was out of lettuce and used wax paper, and it stuck terribly.

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T baked off the buns I had retarded overnight in the fridge.

Not a lot of difference, but more of the sourdough flavour in the dough, and note the fine bubbles in the crust that are characteristic of retarded doughs.

I may have over-filled these a bit.

gallery_7620_135_1106575813.jpggallery_7620_135_1106575863.jpg

OK What is the next challenge?


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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