Vietnamese Bao Buns

     I simply love bao buns. The soft, tender, bun packed with tasty bits of meat and vegetables just work so perfectly together. The buns are typically a circle cut out of a rolled piece of dough that is folded and squished in half. Mine don't have the iconic squared edged because I pulled small balls of dough and rolled them out instead so I didn't have scraps to deal with. 

     Fillings can be anything you like from traditional with meat and pickled vegetables or as unique as you like. There is a restaurant near me that serves them with fried chicken, hot sauce, and pickles. We love them. It's also a great was to use up leftovers, in our case the leftover red pork or leftover vegetables after making banh mi or salads. This recipe, for the dough at least, comes from Panlasang Pinoy and is the same one used in siopao, Filipino filled buns. 

Bao Bun Recipe
2 c. warm water
6 Tbsp. lard, melted
1/4 c. sugar
5 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt

Filling Ideas
Grilled steak
Fried chicken
Sliced cucumber
Fresh cilantro
Grilled jalapeno
Siracha mayo
Korean pickled daikon
Teriyaki sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bread maker in the order listed. Place on the dough setting and and allow to complete the cycle. Remove from the breadmaker and break in to pieces just smaller than a golf ball. roll out, slightly oblong and brush lightly with a teeny, tiny, bit of oil. Fold in half, oil side in, and place on a square of parchment paper. Squish to flatted and place on a tray while you complete the rest of the buns. 

Place a frying pan on the stove and fill with water. Add a steamer basket to the pan of water. Once the water is heated add three buns, still on the parchment, to the steamer basket and replace the top. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes until the buns are cooked through. remove from the basket, check the water level, and add more buns. Continue steaming the buns in batches, checking the water level to make sure it doesn't go dry. Once all the buns are cooked open them up and serve with whatever fillings you prefer. 



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