Hi everyone, it’s Teacher Wang from Shijiazhuang, a Northern Chinese city near Beijing. I host students from Lingoinn, teaching Mandarin, and sharing my love of Chinese culture and food. As we cannot be together in person for a while, I am sharing my favourite recipes for you to try at home. Today – 包子 Bāozi, Steamed Stuffed Buns.
“包子bāozi” literally in Chinese is “steamed bun” with a filling of meat or vegetables. It is popular all over China but commonly, “bāozi” is bigger in the North of China than in the South. Although each region has a different choice of stuffing, it is commonly made of wheat flour. To make good steamed buns, I’d like to teach you some techniques that I learned from my mother. These are the two kinds of steamed buns we’re going to make today. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Mix the appropriate amount of water and dried yeast into the flour. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth. Cover the dough and place it under the sun. Wait until the dough rises which means it has been fermented. Divide it into several portions. Take one portion and leave the rest in a container to avoid becoming dry. Roll the portion on the board into a log and cut it into small pieces.
Step 2: Flat each piece with a special tool called “擀面杖gǎn miàn zhàng”. This is a rolling pin. Roll each piece into a disk-like wrapper. We often call this process “擀皮gǎn pí”. Some people are skilled in doing this. The most important thing when making a wrapper is that it needs to be thick in the centre but thin around the edge. This can ensure no holes in the wrapper that holds enough stuffing.
Step 3: This is the most difficult step. If you want to make the round-shaped “bāozi”, you can place a wrapper on the left hand, add the filling and then use the right hand to fold the edge counterclockwise until the bun is completely sealed. But if you want to make the oval shaped Baozi as beautiful as you see in the picture below, we can do it together when you stay at my home.
Step 4: Find a steamer and pour enough cold water into it. Place a thin cotton cloth that we call it “屉布tī bù” in the steamer. Arrange the buns in the steamer with some space. When the water is boiling and it starts to steam, it normally takes 15 minutes for vegetable stuffing and 20 minutes for the meat filling to be cooked.
Now, it’s time to taste these delicious bāozi with an egg soup or a Chinese porridge! Can you smell the aroma?