Monday, May 10, 2010

Baozi Two Ways: Mushroom and Pork

I think these are my favorite style of dumplings.  I typically think of char siu bao when I think of baozi - soft, steamed bread with a red roast pork filling.  The dough develops a shiny skin during the steaming process that makes it taste a little sweeter.

These were made with the same dough as baozi, that is mantou, which is pretty sweet (1 tablespoon sugar per cup of flour) so it rises really fast.  I turn my back on the dough for a minute and it's about to crawl out of the bowl like some sci-fi monster.  Ten minutes and it'd be pushing out the windows of the apartment.  Okay, I'm exaggerating, but to someone who's used to whole wheat dough - which you can let rise forever and ever and it would just sit there heavily, impassively, daring you to turn it into a sandwich loaf - this white-flour dough puffs like a burgeoning marshmallow.

The fillings were similar in flavor and preparation.  I made half of the dumplings with crimini mushrooms (the recipe called for shiitakes but they were more than twice as expensive) and the other half with ground pork.  They were seasoned with soy sauce, ginger and scallions.

Since I was making two different dumpling fillings, I doubled the dough recipe.  After mixing the flour, water, scalded milk, sugar and yeast, letting the dough rise for an hour and a half (apartment remained intact), I kneaded in some palm oil, salt and baking powder, gave  it another fifteen-minute rest, and then chopped it into four parts.  The recipe said to roll out each part and use a cookie cutter (a.k.a. drinking glass) to shape the dumplings, but that doesn't work out so well for me.  Instead I just chopped each quadrant into twelve marshmallow-sized lumps and rolled them out individually.

Each shell got a scoop of filling, edges pinched together on top, and a 30-minute rest.  After that they steamed for fifteen minutes.  These are meant to be frozen after cooking, so I'll cook the rest of these and put some in the freezer because I have a feeling that the two of us can't finish 48 dumplings in three days, delicious as they are.

No comments: