Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chicken Stir Fry Dinner: Step 1 Making Bao

Each year I change not only the dishes that we serve at the Greenville Arms and the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops but also the cuisine. Over the past it's been Southern Italian, Spanish and South American, I know, I know, very different cuisines but I'm allowed. I didn't do a fusion, but rather served examples of both, Spanish Paella, Pozole, Beefsteak con salsa de chimichurri, I used BBQ flank steak with smoked sea salt, recipe is on Innsane. Upscale Comfort Food, Summer black truffle soup, Mac & Cheese, Urfa and Pistachio Lamb, Austrian Food, Fisch Nach Burgenlaendisher Art, and finally Molecular and Physical Gastronomy, warm chocolate foam, salmon tuile, amaretto pearls.

This year has been interesting. One of the dishes I am doing is a very simple stir fry with nio-rio bao, beef bao rather than pork. I make a great beef short rib that I put into the bao.

So, the menu looks like,

Beef Short Rib Bao
Plain Bao

Beef Short Rib

Main Course:
Chicken Stir Fry

Dan Tat - Hong Kong Style (港式酥皮蛋塔)

I picked up the dan tat recipe, a childhood favorite, from Lucy's blog Edible Memories. I didn't have to change it at all but just take her warning about not overworking the dough very seriously. Also, I filled up to the crust rim, about 90% rather than 80% and had few problems.

Bao Recipe:

My bao recipe has been heavily influenced by Zhao Xiu Zhong, my assistant.

3 cups AP flour
1 1/2 T dried yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup hot milk
2 T shortening
1/2 t baking powder

I put 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and the shortening in a mixing bowl. I pour the hot milk, 1 minute in the microwave, and start kneeding with the dough hook. I then sprinkle the baking powder as the hook mixes. I need for 8 minutes, making sure I have enough liquid to make a sticky dough. More often than not I add an 1/8 of a cup of water. Next time, I will weigh my ingredients. That's the only sane way to go.

Let rise for 45 minutes. Then punch down and roll into a long baguette like shape. I use my dough knife, bench scraper, to cut into ovals. Comme ça.

To shape, all you need to do for the plain bow is to turn the cut dough over on its side so that the oval faces up. To make the stuffed Nyo Lo Bao, I hope I have the pinyin right there, first turn over the sliced dough and flatten with your hand. Then using your fingers, thin out the edges. Next shred the beef and put it in the center. Using the fingers and right thumb pinch together the dough while stuffing the beef down with your left thumb, sort of like making kaiser rolls, and then once you have covered the shredded beef, push down the folds hard with your thumb. Let rest 10 minutes.

Let rest for 20 minutes. Then steam in a genuine steamer. Bamboo is fine. I use my industrial strength aluminum. I bought that steamer 30 years ago. Steam for 15-20 minutes. What I like to do to get good steamer spring, as opposed to oven spring ;-), is to heat up the steamer, turn it off, let cool for 20 minutes, put the bao into the steam and turn it back on full.

I highly recommend that you make a circle of paper and poke holes in it and the spray it to get a nice bottom. You can also cut individual squares of paper for each bun. I like the latter better because it lets the steam circulate.

My next post will be my Braised Beef Short Ribs. Until then, you'll have to use your own recipe for braised beef short ribs.



Blogger Steffen Pelz said...

Wow. Great recipe. I love Bao and I'll have to use your recipe to make some myself soon.

August 8, 2008 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Mark by Chocolate said...

Please do. My assistant has a very different recipe for bao. She influenced me quite a bit on how I make it.

I have ideas and recipes on both blogs. Check out InnSane as well. Thanks so much for the comment and the support.

August 8, 2008 at 2:42 PM  

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