I could make my banh bao* plain, like I usually do. Or I could go all fancy schmancy.
A few months ago, I saw a picture of little banh bao piggies on www.epicute.com (one of the Girl’s favourite sites), and I always said to myself, “Gotta try it one day.” So yesterday, when the Boy said to me, “You can’t do it”, and the husband said, “You can’t do it”, how could I back down from the challenge?
The first batch were my plain steamed buns, and then my little piggies. Sure, the little oinkers took twice as long as the plain buns, but when the reward is delighted little squeals throughout the house, how can a mom say no?
* My recipe for the pork filling (I usually don’t measure things out when I’m not actually following a recipe, so these are approximations):
– 1 lb. medium ground pork
– half an onion, diced
– 2 stalks green onion, chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic, diced finely
– 1 tbsp. fish sauce
– 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
– 1 tsp. garlic powder
– 1 tsp. sugar
– 1 tsp. sesame oil
– 1 tsp. ground black pepper
– Optional: sliced straw or shiitake mushrooms
Mix everything well, with best results to be had if you use your hands to mix and knead.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the pork filling, a quarter-wedge of boiled egg, and two to three thin slices of uncooked Chinese sausage into each flattened 10-cm-wide circle of dough. (Dough is prepared according to the package instructions, and is available at any Asian grocery store. I used about 5 drops of red food colouring to make a delightful piggie-pink.)
Bring sides together and twist at the top. To make piggies, place bun opening-side down onto wax paper. Form a thin half-centimetre-wide roll of dough. Cut little half-ovals for ears, and ovals for snouts, making nostrils with a toothpick. Press the additions gently onto the buns, and add peppercorns (or black sesame seeds) for eyes.
Steam buns for 20 minutes on high. Stackable bamboo steamers are the best for steaming.