Nom Pao/Banh Bao (Steamed Buns with Meat Filling)
INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH:
1 cup of lukewarm WHOLE milk
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1/3 cup of sugar (add a Tablespoon more if you like your buns a tad sweeter)
4 cups of cake flour (may sub for all purpose flour)
2 teaspoons of Alsa baking powder or Rumford baking powder
2 Tablespoons of tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING:
1 pound of ground turkey (may sub for ground pork or chicken)
1/4 cup of minced woodear mushroom (may sub for any mushroom)
1/3 cup of finely chopped sweet onion
1 green onion chopped
2 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of msg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 Tablespoon of fish sauce
1 Tablespoon of oyster sauce
3 Tablespoons of plain breadcrumbs
YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
4 hard boiled eggs, each quartered (to make 16 pieces)
16 parchment squares
ice cream scoop (optional)
MAKE THE FILLING:
Into a large mixing combine all of the ingredients for the filling together and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
TO MAKE THE DOUGH:
1. Warm up milk until lukewarm (make sure it’s not too hot!). Add in your sugar and active dry yeast. Stir and set aside until foamy.
2. Into a large mixing bowl, add in your cake flour, salt, tapioca starch, and baking powder. Stir until combined.
3. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, stir milk and yeast mixture, and pour it into your your large mixing bowl.
4. Using a wooden spoon, stir for about 30 seconds and then add in your vegetable oil. Stir again.
5. Dump your dough onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for an additional 3-5 minutes, until nice and smooth. Sprinkle in more flour as needed.
6. Put a bit of vegetable oil into the same large mixing bowl as earlier, and lightly coat the bowl all over. Add in your dough, toss to coat and cover with saran wrap (directly on the surface of the dough) for about an hour or until doubled in size.
7. Place dough onto clean surface, poke it all over with your fingers, and gently roll it into a log (about 16 inches long). Divide the dough into 8 equal sized pieces and cover with a clean dish towel until ready to use.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE:
1. Take one of your dough pieces and cut it in half. Place the other piece back under your dish towel. Flatten your dough using your hands, and then bring the dough under itself to create a smooth rounded ball. Place ball on counter and using a rolling pin, roll it out flat, making sure it’s thick in the middle and thinner as you go out.
2. Place about two Tablespoons of meat filling (use an ice cream scoop for even sized fillings) in the middle of your dough then add a piece of egg on top. Bring up the dough up over the egg and meat filling, and pinch to seal. Place shaped dough onto a parchment square and repeat steps with the other pieces of dough.
3. Put enough water into your pot for steaming. How much you use will depend on how big your steamer is. Add in 1/4 cup of vinegar. Add on your steamer compartments. (I stack two on top of each other, but only place the buns in the top compartment only.) Cover with a lid. With your stove on medium high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil and allow the steamer to get nice and hot for a 5 full minutes.
4. Place your shaped buns into the hot steamer (you may need to work in batches) and steam for about 25 minutes or until filling is cooked through. Serve hot or wait for them to cool down, saran wrap, and place them into the fridge for up to two days. These microwave really well!
-You may sub for all purpose flour but using cake flour will yield in a much softer and whiter bun.
-You may make ahead: scoop out your meat filling onto baking sheet fitted with foil, freeze, and then place shaped filling into ziplock baggies until ready to use!