Sunday, 7 June 2009

Making Pao

This weekend is rather relaxing for me. Mainly because the weather is not that promising for the great outdoor. So I stayed home to experiment recipes which I've not try before or had ''failed'' before.
I browsed through my Hong Kong cookbook for bao recipes. I've failed making bao dough before and that kept me off awhile from trying to make them again. After browsing through internet for some advice on the secret of good & white fluffy bao dough, secrets are to have bleached flour(Hong Kong flour) and baking ammonia(hmnnn....this ammonia I will opt out as some research suggested that ammonia may not be good for the health). Now I understand why the dim sum restaurant had the perfect bao skin. After researching further, there are so many different type of flour for different purposes, the ingredient to distinguish them is the high or low content of protein in the flour. One of the flour for making bao is Hong Kong flour. It is considered bleach flour and has lower content of protein if I'm correct, which gives the bao it white color. I've searched high and low (noted: even to London Chinatown) for Hong Kong flour but still couldn't find them. There is ready made bao flour but at premium prices, instead I opt for multipurpose flour with wheat starch which is more economical and still giving the same texture (except not as white). So what's for the filling......Char Siew ;-)

Char Siew Bao (14-16 , 4 inches bao)
  • 300 gm plain flour
  • 120 gm wheat starch
  • 90 gm icing sugar
  • 7 gm instant yeast
  • 200ml lukewarm water
  • 20ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp baking powder + 15ml water [ added after dough has been rested for 4-5hrs]
  • 300 gm char siew diced
  • 1 big onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp hoi sin sauce
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2tsp corn starch with 1 tbsp of water
  1. Sieve the flour, wheat starch, icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Make a whole in the middle and add in yeast, water, oil and stir to mix well. Then use your hand to knead relentlessly until the dough is smooth and non sticky to your hand.
  2. Use a damp cloth to cover the dough and let it to rest for 4-5 hours or at least double in size. Warm temperature aids in dough rising, typically around 28C. For me I let it to rise in my sunroom which is very warm.
  3. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Heat a tbsp of cooking oil and fry the onion till fragant. Add in char siew and stir fry for a minute or two. Then add in hoi sin sauce, water amd sesame seed, stir.
  4. Then add in corn starch to thicken the mixture. Heat for another minute or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Once the dough has double in size give a good knead, mix the baking powder with the water and stir well ( no lumpy residue of baking powder visble). Mix them into the dough and knead again for about 5minutes. Let it to rise for a further 30minutes or so.
  6. Then roll the dough on a work surface duster with some flour. Divide into 14-16 portions. Roll into a ball and flatten with a roller to about 3-4 inches in diameter. Scoop a tbsp of fillings onto the dough and pleat into a bao. Lay it on a parchment paper and place it in bamboo steamer. Continue to wrap the bao until finish. Make sure you leave some space for the bao to expand dring steaming (around 1 inch gap will do) Let it to rest for further 10minutes for it to rise before steaming.
  7. Meanwhile bao is resting, prepare the wok with boiling water. Once it is boiling, place the bao in the steamer and steam for 15minutes. Served while it's piping hot with Chinese tea.
Verdict: My ma says it's quite good .....

And some lovely roses from my garden in June...... Enjoy

Floribunda rose : Birthday Girl

Hybrid tea : Pink rose

Floribunda rose : Princess of Wales

English rose : St. Cecile (the perfume is fantastic)


fen said...

Must say that your pao didn't look too tempting...but the roses were great!
My mom makes pao with plain flour. It's not the hong kong type, it's the traditional ones. The healthier ones. :)

Christine Toh said...

Hi Fen,

Thanks for the comment. I will try to improve. :-)