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Vietnamese steamed buns/ 包子/Banh bao

First time making these buns, I was quite successful to shape them, wasn’t I! The photo was taken by my phone, the quality was off.

To be honest, I have never been a big fan of dumplings even when I was in Vietnam. Let’s say if I am involved in a lot of  beautiful love stories with street food in Hanoi then dumpling was always a mere fling. The smell of steamed flour together with the tempting fragrance of pork and dried mushroom blend in, bringing me back to a street where I had the most dumplings in my high school time. I took a literature extra class there in late afternoon every two day.

Such a youthful and nostalgic fragrance!

Earlier last Christmas I bought a ready-mix dumpling flour in Paris but I decided to mix flour on my own as mixing flour is fun and not that difficult.

I have tried different recipes for the dough and this one below is the best, which gives you a soft moist texture and the signature smell of the buns sold in Vietnam. I learned the recipe from someone to whom I owe an apology for not having taken note her name. As I tend to read lots of recipe before I cook something and took note in different notebooks (well I’m not very well organized) I could not find the piece of paper that I noted down this recipe for the first time.

So this is my adapted version:

Yield 10-12 buns

Dough:

250g AP flour or bread flour

50g cake or  AP flour

1tbsp vegetable oil

1tbsp lemon juice

a pinch of salt

110ml milk

75g powdered sugar

1/2 tbsp instant yeast

1tsp sugar

1/2 tbsp baking powder

For the fillings you can use a wide range of ingredients that you want.

250g minced pork

12,5g dried mushroom, soaked in boiling hot water for at least 30minutes, finely chopped

1 scallion finely chopped

1/8 a dried onion or 1small  golden onion finely chopped

(1/2 can or 70g water chestnut) finely chopped

Chinese sausages thinly sliced

1tbsp oyster sauce

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp fish sauce

1/8 tsp pepper (or to taste)

1/2 tbsp honey

3 hard boiled eggs (cut in quarters)

To make the fillings, just simply mix them together.

Method:

Sieve flour and powdered sugar.

Pour flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast, lemon juice in a food processor, pulse a few times to blend. Using plastic blade.

Keep the machine at speed 2, gradually pour in milk for 30-40second or until the dough form a ball.

Knead by hand 2,3 times. Let it proof in warm place (24-29C) for an hour until it doubles its size.

When done proofing. Sieve 50g flour with baking powder and mix with this proofed flour dough. Let it sit for a second time for 1 or 2 hours.

Knead it in a long tube, cut into 10 or 12 small even pieces. Flatten the pieces with a rolling pin. Stuff in the fillings and let it proof 30 minutes before steaming for about 12-15 minutes on high bubbling water. Don’t let your lid open during steaming.

Tips: To whiten the dough, pour some vinegar into the water.