Bao, or Bao Zi, as I have mentioned elsewhere, are steamed Chinese buns, one very popular variety of which is the famous Cha Siu Bao (叉燒包), which comes stuffed with Chinese BBQ Pork. During my summer vacation, I got to try a variation on the traditional at a little place called Tomo in Ottawa’s Byward Market. These particular sort, rather whimsically called ‘Bao Wows’, were enhanced with the addition of caramelized onions and, though I wasn’t especially taken with them, they did inspire me to try something similar. Today, I present my own twist on the theme using pork belly and Crispy Fried Onions …
- ½ cup cooked Pork Belly, in small dice;
- ½ tsp. Cornstarch;
- ½ tsp. Garlic Paste;
- 1 pinch Salt;
- 1 tsp. Rice Wine;
- 1 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
- ¼ cup Crispy Fried Onion shred;
- A small batch of Bread Dough (a fist sized blob is ample for this recipe).
These are the pork belly rashers I cooked up for this recipe (I didn’t need all of them and used the rest elsewhere). The idea is to bake or fry the rashers until most of the fat has rendered and they are cooked just to the point before they start to get crispy. For this recipe, it is best to keep the diced pork belly quite lean, so I trimmed away the edge fat from the rashers I did use.
Toss the diced pork with the cornstarch and then stir in the garlic, salt, rice wine and oyster sauce. Stir the onion shreds in last. If there are very long strands amongst them, you may wish to break them up a bit with your spoon.
Take a generous walnut sized piece of dough and roll it out into a circle approximately 4 to 5 inches across and place a 3 tablespoon dollop of the filling in the middle.
Grasp the far sided edge of the dough circle and bring it up, making a fold (thus pleating it) as you do.
Continue folding and pleating all the way around the filling, squeezing the folded dough tightly together.
Finish the folds but leave the top open ever so slightly. Repeat as necessary with the rest of the dough and filling (my yield was six).
Finally, place the buns on greased platters and steam over high heat for about 15 minutes. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice (I used, a little soy with black vinegar).