sloppy bao buns

Sloppy Bao Buns

The American classic: the sloppy Joe but with an Asian twist. The ground pork is sautéed with fragrant ginger, garlic and green onion then blended with a flavorful soy sauce mixture and served in steamed fluffy bao buns. Fill the steamed buns so they are overflowing and almost have to be eaten with a fork.

 

Ingredients:

For the steamed bao buns:

2½ teaspoons active dry yeast 

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons pork fat or vegetable shortening, at room temperature 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

16 (4-inch) squares of parchment paper

 

For the pork filling:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1½ teaspoons minced ginger

4 cloves chopped garlic

3 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens divided

1½ pounds ground pork (80% lean/ 20% fat)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sriracha

2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

 

For serving:

½ English (hothouse) cucumber, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons chopped green onions

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro

 

Instructions:

For the steamed bao buns:

In a small bowl stir together the yeast and sugar with ¾ lukewarm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the yeast mixture, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat (or shortening) to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Mix on the lowest speed until the dough gathers in a ball on the hook, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat it with the oil then cover with plastic wrap and place in warm place to let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Divide the dough in half then cut each half into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, making 16 pieces, each about the size of a ping-pong ball.

Set the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 minutes. Working one at a time, use a rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a 4-inch long oval. Lightly brush with the oil and fold each oval in half horizontally to form a bun. Place the bun on one of the squares of parchment paper. Once again, cover with the plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining buns and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.

Set up a steamer on top of the stove with water on medium-low heat. Work in batches as to not crowd the steamer, steam the buns on the parchment paper for about 10 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and set the buns aside.

Buns can also be cooled then frozen in plastic ziplock bags. Reheat in a steamer until completely soft, about 2 minutes.

 

For the pork filling:

Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and the whites of the green onions and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the pork and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and using a wooden spoon to break apart the pork, until the pork is browned about 6 minutes. Add the soy sauce and cook for an additional minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork to a medium mixing bowl.

In a small bowl stir together the sriracha and hoisin until the sugar has dissolved. Add the mixture to the pork and stir to combine. Stir in the remaining green onions and set aside.

 

For serving:

Spoon the pork filling into the bao buns and garnish with the cucumber, green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

Serves 6.   

Bao bun recipe adapted from the Momofuku cookbook.

 

 

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