Cumin beef & spring onion (scallion) fried baos

Cumin beef & spring onion (scallion) fried baos

By
From
Hong Kong Diner
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Kris Kirkham

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 portion Bao dough, ready to make 20–25 baos
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

The filling

Quantity Ingredient
50g water chestnuts
1 garlic clove
1/2 a thumb-size piece of ginger
5 sprigs fresh coriander
3 spring onions
200g beef mince
1 egg yolk

The marinade

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon chiu chow chilli oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

Method

  1. Finely chop the water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, coriander (cilantro) and 2 of the spring onions (scallions) and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the minced beef and egg yolk and mix well.
  2. In a pan over a medium high heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute), then tip them into a mortar and gently crush, using a pestle. Add the crushed seeds to the filling mix, along with the other marinade ingredients, and stir to combine well.
  3. After the bao dough has proved for 1 1/2 hours, doubling in size, place the dough on a well-floured work surface and roll it out until approx. 5mm in thickness. Finely chop the last spring onion and scatter the pieces over the dough. Using a cookie cutter (or the lip of a glass) approx. 7cm in diameter, cut the dough into as many pieces as possible.
  4. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling into the centre of the pastry. Lift up the pastry and squeeze the edges together as if forming a drawstring money bag with your dominant hand. Holding the pastry in your dominant hand, twist the top tightly and continuously with the other hand, ensuring the filling does not leak out, until the pastry is completely sealed and you have a slightly swirled, spiralled effect at the top, and a well-rounded dumpling below. Once well sealed, lightly roll the bao so that it is an even ball shape, then set aside on a well-floured tray and cover with a slightly damp clean cloth or tea towel to keep it from drying out.
  5. Do the same with the rest of the pastries and filling, then allow the uncooked baos to rest for a further 30 minutes in a warm, draught-free, humid place, such as a room-temperature oven.
  6. To cook the baos, fill a wok one-third to halfway up with boiling water. Line 2 bamboo steam baskets with dim sum steamer paper (available online or in specialist shops) or greaseproof paper pierced with holes to let the steam through. Brush the paper with a little vegetable oil, then place the prepared baos in the baskets, twisted side down (to prevent any loose ends from opening up). Put the baskets into the wok, cover with a lid and steam on high for 8 minutes, resisting the temptation to open the lid during this time.
  7. Once steamed, remove the baos from the baskets and bring a large frying pan to a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and, once hot, carefully place the baos in the oil, twisted side down. Once the baos have touched the oil, immediately turn them once and fry the other side until golden brown, about 3–4 minutes. Flip and fry the opposite side until golden brown. Once both sides have been browned nicely, serve piping hot.

Tip

  • For a simple veggie version of this bao, omit the beef mince and use a whole egg in the filling instead of just the yolk. Once the filling ingredients have been chopped and mixed, fry on a medium heat in a wok or frying pan and scramble together. Allow to cool, then use as an alternative, meat-free filling for the baos.
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