Making Baozi

So, as part of my last day with my host family, they asked their grandmother to come and make Baozi, a stuffed dough that is then steamed. There are many variations in terms of fillings, styles of preparation that are most likely regional and as people migrate become integrated in more local cuisine.
Now I am a casual observer, I like cooking, but am by no means a chef, so forgive me as this recipe may not be 100% accurate. I have some photos and videos to accompany which will hopefully help, but a lot of the measurements were guess work on my part as they measured by eye.

Photos and videos at the bottom (videos maybe later as I would have to pay)
Rough list of ingredients; (for the filling).

  • 2 large Chinese lettuces (chopped very fine)
  • 1 large leek (chopped very fine)
  • Ginger, thumb sized piece (I hate that measurement but like I said, calling it by eye)
  • APPROXIMATELY 300-400g pork mince
  • 3-4tbsp of oil (they used peanut)
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1-2tsp of sesame oil
  • salt (to season and draw out water)

I wasn’t present for the making of the dough, but from what I understand it’s just a basic dough of water, yeast and flour left to prove for about 2-3 hours.

Here’s a method for making the dough
Making the Mix
So, with your dough rising in the background you can get on with preparing the filling.

  1. VERY finely chop the lettuce, leek and ginger (I would say shredded) and put in a large bowl with some salt to draw out the water (30-60mins)
  2. Now you must squeeze all the excess water out of the greens, placing them on a chopping board as you go
  3. Add the mince to the mixture and mix thoroughly
  4. Add the peanut oil and coat all the ingredients, leave for a few minutes
  5. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce and oyster sauce again mixing well
  6. Finally add a 1-2tsp of salt after the wet ingredients have well coated the mix

Making the Shell
Now that your mix is made and your dough is proved you can go about stuffing the dough (this is the tricky part)

  1. Give the dough a firm smack, split in two, knead and roll each lump out into a long sausage
  2. Rip small chunks of equal size of of the sausage (see pictures)
  3. Round the chunks together to give one side a smooth edge
  4. Making sure your surface is well floured, use a rolling pin to flatten out the edges, leaving a small bump in the middle. I would say to a diameter of about 10cm, maybe a little less
  5. Take a good tablespoon (again use the videos and pictures for reference) and place in the centre of your disc
  6. Bring the edges of the disc together, one pinch at a time, constantly pushing the mixture into the centre with one thumb and bring the edge together with the other thumb

Once you have stuffed all your baozi, cover and leave to rise for 30-60 minutes (depends on temperature of environment, go with the old ‘doubled in size’ standard)
There is a simpler method (akin to a cornish pasty you may hear me say) that grandma showed me. But I would rather everybody attempts the higher difficulty!
Cooking the Buggers
Finally you can actually get to the cooking stage!

  1. Bring your steamer to a strong steam (a full steam? I don’t know)
  2. Place your baozi inside the steamer
  3. Leave for 15 minutes at a strong steam (10 if you have no meat)
  4. Turn the heat off but leave the baozi inside the steamer with the lid on for another 10 mins

Serve with whatever you want to accompany it, maybe some soy sauce for dipping on the side
So this part was really tricky and I guess you need a lot of practice and to play closer attention than I did! Hopefully the videos and photos will help give you a point of reference. If anyone (I know some friends said they would try the recipes) attempts this, please do e-mail me or post pictures (if you can) as I would like to see how other people fare. I won’t be able to try again until I’m back in England.

This is the first recipe as this is my first host family. I hope to collect a recipe from each host I stay with and I’ll share them with y’all.

Squeezing the water out

Meat and Veg ratio

Dough portions and smoothed versions

Dough when rolled out

Filling the Baozi
Me attempting to stuff

After pinching the edges to the middle. Guess which one’s mine!
Cornish Pasty Style

The simpler ‘Cornish pasty’ style


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