A recent weekend ritual our family picked up was traveling to a regional Vietnamese bakery for a variety of goods. One of our favorites has been the banh bao. This slightly sweet steamed bun is packed with pork sausage, ground pork, quail eggs, and the odd vegetable. They have become a tasty and satisfying breakfast treat or snack. Of course, I immediately wondered if I could replicate this creation at home. Not being a huge fan of the pork overdose of these buns, one advantage was the fine tuning of the fillings.
After some online searches as well as trial and error, this is what I’ve come up with so far:
makes 6 small buns
- 140 g AP flour
- 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 0.25 teaspoon salt
- 40 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 70 g milk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Mix all ingredients together until all flour is absorbed into dough.
- Kneed for about 10 minutes. Dough will start to develop a smooth surface though may not be perfectly smooth. If the dough is dry, add kneed in some water. The dough will be tacky, but if it sticks excessively to your hand, dust with some flour and kneed it in to incorporate.
- Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Rest for 30 minutes
- Divide into 6 balls and flatten each into a disk with the palm of your hand
- Using a rolling pin, roll each disk into a 4 inch circle
- Place a small amount of filling (I used pork sausage, water chestnut, egg, and shiitake mushroom, all cut into small pieces) in the center of each disk
- Fold up the edges from four sides and pinch together. It may help to moisten the outer rim of the dough circle with water using your finger to help it to stick.
- Place each bun on a small piece of parchment paper, then prepare a steamer (e.g. a steamer insert in a pot with a small amount of boiling water).
- Steam the buns for about 15 minutes.