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Sheng Jian Baozi with Chile Oil

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Panfried-Pork-and-Scallion-Mini-Buns_editedThe World Spice Cookbook Club is grilling, steaming and frying at the August 2015 Meet & Eat. We are all cooking from Andrea Nguyen’s classic Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More and her more recent, crazy-popular The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches. Sherrie from World Spice Retail is cooking up these mini buns, and we can’t wait to try them!

From the author: If you like pot stickers and steamed buns, you’ll love these spongy-crisp pan-fried treats from Shanghai, where typically they are cooked in humongous shallow pans (much like large paella pans) with wooden lids. These buns are made of yeast dough that is filled with an aromatic pork mixture and then fried and steamed in a skillet. Cooking under cover with a bit of water delivers plenty of moisture to puff up the buns. Ground beef chuck or chicken thigh can stand in for the pork in this recipe. A bāozi is a mini bāo (bun) and for that reason, I like to keep these true to their name and shape small ones. However, you can elect to form sixteen medium-size (23/4-inch) buns. Roll the dough circles out to 3-1/4 inches in diameter and use about 4 teaspoons of filing for each bun; increase the water and cooking time a tad.

There are several methods for making Chinese yeast dough, some of which employ starters and leavening, such as lye water and ammonium carbonate. Th is dough uses ingredients available at regular American supermarkets, and the results match the best I’ve experienced in China. Many Asian cooks employ—to great success—a cakey, snowy-white Cantonese-style dough made from low-gluten cake flour or from a quickie flour and baking powder blend. This dough is different; it has more depth, and its loft and resilience comes from combining yeast and baking powder; fast-rising yeast works like a champ. All-purpose flour with a moderate amount of gluten, such as Gold Medal brand widely available at supermarkets, is what I prefer for this dough. Use bleached flour for a slightly lighter and brighter finish.

Used in Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian cooking, chile oil is easy to prepare at home, and it’s infinitely better than store-bought. Its intense heat enlivens many foods, especially dumplings, which benefit when chile oil is part of the dipping sauce or used as a garnish. Some cooks add aromatics, such as ginger, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns, to the oil, but I like to keep the chile flavor pure. While you may use other cooking oils, such as canola oil, my preference is for the kind of peanut oil often sold at Chinese markets, which is cold pressed and filled with the aroma of roasted peanuts. It is texturally light, has a high smoking point, and offers a wonderful nuttiness that pairs well with the intense chile heat. Lion & Globe peanut oil from Hong Kong is terrific. Use just the infused oil or include the chile flakes for an extra brow-wiping experience.

 

Asian Dumplings

 

Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More is one of the August selection for the World Spice Cookbook Club. Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More is currently available for purchase at our retail store.

Reprinted with permission from Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen. Copyright © 2009 Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photography © 2009 by Penny De Los Santos

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 2 Comments

  1. LeeAnn says:

    Is there a way to search recipes by the spice I bought from you?

    • Sherrie says:

      Yes. You can either look up the spice or blend on our website and, if we have a recipe on our blog using it, there will be a link to it. Or, you can go to the Home Page of this blog, and type in the name of the spice. Then it will come up with a list of recipes.

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