As we continue to live life within the confines of home during this period of quarantine and social-distancing, we've been focusing on using our leftovers and pantry staples in creative ways to make meals exciting. For this recipe, we revisited making Pork Bao. I've tried these a couple of times before but my recipe needed tweaking to suit our tastes better. By a stroke of luck, this time I was focusing on making the most simple recipe possible, and they turned out amazing and they were gobbled up in quick measure. I've been being a little bit extra cautious with how adventurous I'm getting with flavors for our main meals right now because it's important that our girls like what we make so we aren't wasting food or needing to make extra meals. These were particularly fun because my 3-year-old loves playing with dough and she is also very excited about Bao from watching both Abominable and Bao. If you haven't seen Abominable yet, it is so cute and the music is great. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy together while eating Bao at home.
Making Bao at home is very simple, especially using this recipe. I used leftover pork loin and a few pantry ingredients for the filling. The dough for the buns is very simple, just flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and water. You will need a steamer basket of some sort in order to make these. I have a bamboo steamer basket with two stacked sections that I got for Christmas, but you could also use a regular vegetable steamer too (that's what I did before I had the bamboo steamer).
Don't stress too much about shaping the Bao perfectly the first time...it's a little bit tricky to do the pleating properly on your first try, so this time I just freestyled so my daughter could help and it worked out great.
A couple of tips I recommend:
1. Line the steamer baskets with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray.
2. Keep the center of the dough thicker than the sides as you roll out the circles of dough (as shown in video below.)
3. Watch this video to see how to do the folding/shaping process:
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Pork Bao (Leftover Pork Loin Recipe)
Pork Bao made with leftover pork loin and pantry-friendly ingredients. Perfect for a family night at home.
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 16 buns
For the Dough:
3 cups (420 grams) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F.
For the Filling:
1-pound cooked pork loin, cut into small cubes
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
pinch of salt, adjusted to taste
Prepare the Dough:
Combine flour, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Add water and stir to combine. Knead for a couple of minutes to form a smooth dough. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Let rise until doubled, about 2 hours at room temperature. While dough is rising, prepare the filling.
Prepare the Filling:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl until incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Cover and refrigerate until dough has risen.
Assemble the Buns:
Line steamer baskets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.
Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil.
Once dough has doubled in size, punch it down and shape into a log. Divide into 16 portions and arrange on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a circle, leaving the center of the circle thicker than the outer edges. (See video above for reference.)
Add about 2 tablespoons of filling to the center of the dough and gather/pleat the edges, working your way around the circle to close the bun with a twisting motion. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Arrange the shaped buns in the prepared steamer basket, leaving about 2 inches between the buns.
Let buns rest for 10 minutes before steaming.
Steam the Buns:
Gently set the filled steamer baskets above the simmering water and cover. Steam for 15 minutes.
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