It is definitely the time of the Bao bun right now. I remember seeing all types of content coming from Eddie Huang years ago, which eventually led me to his Baohaus joint in New York City. While the antics of Eddie is without a doubt something to treasure (and miss, he has kind of gone a little under the radar lately), I felt frustrated for never having the opportunity to go to the Big Apple just to stand in line and eat the Chairman Bao in his cramped-up eatery.
Which left us to do what we always do when we feel cheated by the distance: We make it at home! So we put our hands together and made a braised pork shoulder bao. This time around, we contained ourselves and went for the more traditional route. Except: we braised the meat in orange. Why, you may ask? Because it’s just awesome. We’re easy to convince.
Ingredients for the Bao Bun
525g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing and brushing
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
Ingredients for the Pork Shoulder Filling
One 3-pound pork shoulder, cut into 4 to 5 pieces
5 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 to 4 cups chicken stock
1 cup oyster sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 orange, zest removed in wide strips with a peeler
Ingredients for the Topping
Two sliced green onions
Handful of Daikon
Some slices of cucumber
How To Make The Bao Bun
Mix together the flour and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl (see tip). Dissolve the yeast and a pinch of salt in 1 tbsp warm water, then add it to the flour with the milk, oil, vinegar and 200ml water. Mix into a dough, adding a little extra water if needed.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10-15 mins, or until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hrs, or until doubled in size.
Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and punch it down. Flatten the dough with your hands, then sprinkle over the baking powder and knead for 5 mins.
Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, about 3cm thick, then cut into pieces that are about 3cm wide – you should have 18.
In the palm of your hand, roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for 2-3 mins.
Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball, one by one, into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Rub the surface of the dough ovals with oil and brush a little oil over a chopstick.
Place the oiled chopstick in the centre of each oval. Fold the dough over the chopstick, then slowly pull out the chopstick.
Transfer the prepared buns to a baking tray lined with baking parchment, cover with a clean tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hr 30 mins, or until doubled in size.
Heat a large steamer over a medium-high heat. Steam the buns for 8 mins until puffed up (you’ll need to do this in batches). Prise open each bun and fill with the barbecue pork and Pickled carrot & mooli. Eat while they’re still warm.
Method for the Pork Shoulder Filling
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit / 150 Celsius
Coat a large wide ovenproof pan with olive oil and bring the pan to high heat. Sprinkle the pork with salt and brown it on all sides. Remove from the pan and reserve.
Ditch the fat from the pan and add a few drops of fresh oil. Toss in the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and rice vinegar and reduce by half. Add the 3 cups chicken stock, oyster sauce, brown sugar, orange zest and juice. Stir to combine, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Taste to make sure it is delicious and adjusts the seasoning if needed.
Return the pork to the pan, cover and put in the oven. Braise the pork for 2 hours, turning it over once. If the liquid reduces too much during the cooking process, add the remaining 1 cup chicken stock. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
When the pork is VERY tender, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the pork, place the pan over medium heat, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces to a sticky sauce consistency.
Serve the pork draped with the sauce.
Last update: April 1st, 2016
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours