Steamed Bao, in all forms, is a favorite lunch or snack for me. I particularly like the Sweet Lotus Seed Paste and Red Bean Paste buns from Uwajimaya in Portland, OR. These may seem run of the mill but I still like them. Since this month’s theme was surprise inside, a variation of Bao seemed like a perfect idea.
Nic’s Baking Sheet blog inspired me to try making steamed buns before, but without success. Maybe this was due to old ingredients. Further investigation of who motivated Nic made me think I should try Steamed Buns again. The post at I was really just very hungry helped me make buns that turned out soft and moist –not containing weird lumps as I experienced previously.
Now for the surprise: I mixed together a nice ganache and place a bit of crystallized ginger or chili spiced mango. The ganache is very sweet and this added ingredient adds a little extra sweet or a little spice. Served warm, the buns are tasty and the centers soft. I prefer to dip a piece of the bun into the gooey chocolate. Adding one sliver of ginger or mango worked well, but next time I will chop the dried fruit up into smaller pieces and mix into the ganache more complete experience of the added flavor.
Rice flour is traditional in making bao. A Chinese friend gave me some and that added to this recipe.
From Sally’s Place
- ½ cup Heavy Cream
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces.
- Crystallized Ginger or Chili Spiced Mango cut into 1 cm squares
- Place cream in a sauce pan over high heat, bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Immediately add chopped chocolate, beating vigorously until well blended. If chocolate mixture becomes stiff, place the bottom of the pan in another pan of hot (not boiling) water to soften the chocolate.
- Let cool.
- When slightly thickened, separate Tablespoon-sized scoops of ganache on a paper plate
- Place the ganache into the freezer for up to 10 min.
- Slide your cut bits of ginger or mango into the ganache balls
From I was really just very hungry
- 7 cups of all-purpose flour (I mixed together rice flour and all-purpose flour. 3 c of all-purpose flour and 4 c of rice flour.)
- 4 ½ t active dry yeast
- ½ c sugar
- ¼ c lukewarm water
- 1 c boiling water
- 1 c warm whole milk
- 2 T vegetable shortening
- 1 t baking powder
- Parchment paper, cut into 24 3” squares
- Proof the yeast in a bowl with ¼ cup of warm water and a pinch of sugar until foamy.
- In a large bowl, put in 5 cups of the flour (3 all-purpose and 2 rice). Make a well in the center, and add the hot water and mix well. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the ingredients except the extra flour. Mix well. Continue adding rice flour a little at a time till the dough no longer sticks to the bowl.
- Place on a floured kneading bench, knead till soft and pliable.
- Place in a large plastic zip lock bag. Leave it to rest until the bag bursts open. (45 min to 1 ½ hour).
- Roll the dough into a long sausage and cut into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and let rest a few minutes.
- To fill the buns, flatten each ball so that the middle is slightly thicker (a thin spot will allow the goo to rupture). Put a ball of your previously-separated ganache into each bun. (Using a spoon kept melted chocolate off my hands and the dough.) Gather up the edges and pinch together firmly to seal, then turn over and place on a parchment square. Let buns rest another 15-20 min before steaming.
- Steam in a steamer for 20 min. Eat piping hot.
- Extra buns freeze well for later use (don’t steam first).