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Monday, February 1, 2010

Bánh Bao (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun)



I often make lots of Bánh Bao and store them in the refrigerator for my family to enjoy. I personally don't like Bánh Bao at the stores. First of all, I do not like green peas and carrots that are often mixed into the meat; Second I like to eat them straight from the steamer.

The first time I tried to make Bánh Bao was when I was in High School, but it all started with my mom.

My mom used to make delicious, tasty Bánh Bao; Our house would be full of them. My father helped her to kneed and roll out the dough. My sisters helped her to assemble them. They would often laugh at each other' s funny looking bao.

Every time a new batch of buns came out, we all looked at them to see what shape they would take. It was a lot of fun.  Now, every time my daughters see me making Bánh Bao, they would sit next to me and help pass out the circle papers that go under the bao. They always get to taste my first batch of fresh, steaming Bánh Bao.

Ân-Hy watched me making Bánh Bao when she was 2
a year and half later, she and her big sister made Bánh Bao with me.* * *
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RECIPE: Steamed Pork Bun
Make: 20 buns

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Ingredients

Dough


1 bag of steamed bun flour
1 cup of milk 
2/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
2 teaspoons of lime juice or lemon juice
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Filling
3/4 pound or 0.7 pound Ground Pork
3/4 -1 small Onion, chopped
6-7 tablespoons  Black Fungus (Nấm Mèo), soak until soft, rinse and finely chop
1/2 cup chopped vermicelli bean threads (Bún Tàu)
1 1/2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Chinese Sausages (Lạp Xưởng), each cut into 20 round slices
3 boiled eggs, each cut into  8 pieces
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20 Paper Circles using paper or parchment paper
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Directions

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Making Dough


Keep 1 tablespoon of flour on a side for later. Pour the remainder into a mixing bowl.
Mix sugar, lemon and water or milk together. Pour the mixed liquid slowly into the flour bowl. Kneed flour and continue adding liquid until it forms dough. You should use the palms and heels of your hands to push forward on the dough. Be sure not add too much liquid. After 10 minutes of kneading the dough, add oil and kneed it for another 5 minutes.


The dough should be soft and should not stick to your hands. I usually have a little bit of liquid left (about 2 and 1/2 tablespoons) at the end. If you pour all of it into the flour bowl, the dough will be too mushy. If it sticks to your hands, that means it has too much liquid. In this case, just add more flour to achieve a nice soft dough. Cover the mixing bowl with foil paper and a cloth or towel. Leave it somewhere that is not cold (I usually leave it in the oven) and let it rise for about 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes. Divide dough into 20 balls. While waiting for dough to rise, prepare the filling.

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Making Filling


Mix all the ingredients except sausages and eggs.  Divide the meat into 20 balls. Rub your hands with a little of oil while making the meat balls so that it won't stick to your hands.
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Assembling


Roll out each dough ball but not too thin.


Put a meat ball in the center of dough.  Add 2 pieces of sausages and 1 piece of egg.


Hold the edges of dough over the filling and start folding it into layers while using the other hand's thumb push down the filling. At the end, twist all the layers to make it stick together.  Put the completed bun on a piece of circle paper.

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Steaming


Boil 1/2 of water in a bottom layer of steamer at high heat.  Arrange buns on the other layers of steamer.  Leave space between each bun to make room for it to rise and expand.  Steam the buns when water starts boiling.  After 15-20 minutes, the buns should be puffed up and they are ready to eat.


Ăn Ngon!

36 comments:

  1. Hi Loan,

    Have tried making this banh bao but my buns always come out a little yellowish. I don't know is it because I bought the wrong brand. Can you email me back at itran1@hotmail.com what brand did you use to make these beautiful banh bao? Thanks so much.

    Isabella

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Add a little white vinegar to the boiling water. This keeps them white.

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    2. you have to put some white vinegar in your bun s and the water you steam it with

      Delete
  2. Hi Isabella,

    I used brand "Thành LỢI Bon Con Voi", just like the picture of flour bag you see in the banh bao post. I also use "Bot Lam Banh Bao Saigon" hieu Ba Chuong Vang. My banh bao is always white when I use these brands. Let me know how your next batch of banh bao turns out.

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  3. I mix 1 cup of vinegar in the steamer to "bleach" my banh bao.

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  4. I used to mix vinegar with water in the steamer too,then I wondered if this method would make banh bao white, so I stopped adding vinegar and my banh bao was still white. Sometimes later, I read somewhere online about using vinegar in the water for steaming and it said this method doesn't produce white bao. The result of white bao is the flour. Since then, I stop using vinegar and only use the two brands of bao flour.

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  5. my buns when i fill them and they kinda break apart, im thinking i put too much liquid in them!

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  6. Sorry to hear about that. When I just started learning to make banh bao, it took me a few times to achieve the right consistency of the dough. It can't be too soggy or too dried. While you're kneeling the dough, if it's soggy, add a little bit more of flour. Good luck.

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  7. Just finished makin these - buns are yellowish, not white as yours. Your bao buns looked beautiful so i'd prefer to eat yours than mine. I threw about 25 buns away, wasted my whole hard day making this! not sure if i want to make it again since i really dont care to eat this much, but always wanted to "practice" with high hopes that they would turn out the way in your pix. . .

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  8. Sorry to hear of your ordeal. Don't give up just yet. It may take several tries before you can get the hang of it. Did you use the same brand of banh bao flour that I posted? I really like this brand because the dough will give you whiter bao.

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  9. After your comment, I reviewed the post and found that the steaming time is 30 minutes. IT IS A TYPO. It should be 15-20 minutes. Sorry. It may be the reason why your baos are yellowish. Sorry.

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  10. Loan, I couldn't find the flour brand (perhaps that's why the bao had yellow skin) and I steamed just 15-20 min only. I used bread machine with dough cycle. Oh well, so many failures and excuses for the given recipes and I guess i may not practice these recipes (failed w/banh bo nuong too) again. Yeah, right My heart is hurting :(

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  11. Some brands of bao flour give it the yellowish color. I tried out every brands and I like the one that I posted above the most.
    Just like bánh bò, I failed many times at making bánh bao, but since I wrote my banh bao recipe on my blog, I've been making banh bao very often and I always use this recipe and follow every step of it.

    I find the hardest part is mixing the dough with the right amount of milk mixture. While you're kneeding the dough, it might be wet and sticky but if you're continue kneeding for a couple minutes, it will be no longer sticky. I always use the whole bag of flour without keeping a little on a side for later. After the dough is done, I usually have about 2 tablespoons of milk mixture left.
    If you try it again, just use a whole bag of flour. Take out about 3 tablespoons of milk mixture. Then pour the rest in flour. If it's a little bit dry, add just about a teaspoon of milk mixture at a time.

    I think I should make a video of how to make banh bao dough the next time I make it again so that you can see the whole process.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh by the way, you knead it by hands only or with machine -part of the procedures? I had it knead by bread machine 1st then hands before rollingpin it> Probably using the machine was wrong in the beginning, kneading by hands would be more sufficient? I guess.

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  13. I kneed it by hands only. This way I can feel the texture of the dough.

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  14. hello chi,

    over the past weekend i was experimenting with your banh bao recipe and the best bot for banh bao is the brand BOT BANH BAO VINH THUAN it came out to be the whitest. i made one batch with what you recommended my banh bao turn out a little yellowish. over all, it was a great activity to do with my 4 and 2 year old boys. and to top it all they love all of the batches...no critic..lol. thank you so much for your recipe!!!

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  15. Haha..It's good that the boys loved all the banh bao his mom made. I will try Vinh Thuan brand the next time I make it. Thanks for leaving a comment.

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    Replies
    1. The Vinh Thuan brand is made in Vietnam

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  16. I've always wanted to try making banh bao, but it looks so time-consuming and hard! Definitely not feasible for lazy college students such as myself, but bookmarking this for later. ;)
    Is it possible to freeze these for later? Or can you only refrigerate them for X amount of days?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Jeanne,

    I didn't cook much when I was in college either. I started cooking when I graduated from college and lived on my own :-).

    You can make banh bao and freeze them for a couple month or refrigerate them for a couple weeks. Take a look at banh gio recipe too. It's easier to make than banh bao and you can also freeze these for a while.

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  18. Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of banh gio (my mom bought it way too often when I was little and I got so sick of it!) but I took a look at your recipe and it reminded me of this other dish I liked - it's wrapped in banana leaf also, but inside the dough, there's shrimp and pork. It's usually made to be kind of flat...and I think it's usually eaten with nuoc mam. Alas, I can't remember the name. There's too many "banh" in Vietnamese cooking!

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  19. Banh Bot Loc. It looks like shrimp/pork dumpling. There are 2 versions of banh bot loc: wrapped in banana leaf and without.

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  20. I just finished my banh bao, using Vinh Thuan flour. I followed exactly your steps, plus a little sesame oil and fry green onion on my filling. It turns out very good, except the bun a little dry but acceptable. I also put about half a teaspoon of red wine vinegar on my boil water, my bun is completely white, not yellow at all. Thank you very much for your recipe, I will definitely use it more. As a matter of fact, I'm marinated some meat to make "nem nuong" using your recipe, wish me luck. By the way, you have 2 beautiful daughters, I have a 3 and a half year old boy, I hope he will enjoy my banh bao.

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  21. Hope your boys enjoy banh bao as much as my girls do :-). Nem Nuong sounds good right now. I am hurry already. Hope it turns out well for you. Good luck!

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  22. With 1 bag of flour, I can only make at most 12 buns. Your ingredients are so confusing. Sounds like you were making 16 buns out of 1 bag but you use only 2 eggs cut into 8 pieces?

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  23. She used 2 eggs, cutting 8 pieces from each egg. 2x8=16.

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  24. Hi chi Loan,
    Em la Thanh Dinh ben facebook.
    Chi khoe khong? Sorry lately co 2 nhoc con nen busy ghe luon. Em thich cam giac tu tay trong cay. Cham soc cho no. Nen dinh xin chi canh cay la gai. Neu hien chi chua co thi de khi nao chi co giong hay co canh, nho cho em nha.
    Chi oi, em moi lam thu banh bao hom qua. Hu roi. Bo thung rac het. Nhung em nhat dinh lam den khi duoc moi thoi. Chi cho em hoi? Between bot 3 con voi & bot vinh thuan, chi thich bot nao nhat?.
    Chi thu bot Mikko chua? Chi co thu lam bot tu CAKE FLOUR+BOT BAP CHUA?
    Compare all of them, hien tai chi thay loai bot nao ngon nhat, trang nhat. Ong xa em & con trai dau em thich banh bao banhgio lam. Chi giup cho em y kien nha. Thanks for your blog so much. Em bat truoc theo cong thuc lam nem nuong & banh pateso ngon lam. Ai an banh pateso cung khen ngon hon nha hang(vi em mua gan loai ngon lam) thanks so much chi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Thanh Dinh,
      Nhoi bot banh bao khong thanh cong ha? Bot bi nhao hay sao? Nho la ddung ddo het nuoc vo bot. Ddo khoang 2/3 nuoc vao roi nhoi. Neu thay con kho thi ddo nuoc them vao. Luc moi ddo nuoc vao, bot con nhao nhung khi nhoi mot hoi, bot se khong con nhao nua.
      Chi thu qua vai loai bot. Bot made in the USA chi thich nhat. Bot khong dduoc trang nhung ngon. Con bot Vinh Thuan cung ngon nhung bot trang pheo, chi khong biet ho co bo chat gi vo de tay bot khong nua. An ma so so nen bay gio chi only dung bot banh bao made in the USA thoi.
      Thanh Dinh lam lai vai lan nua se thanh cong thoi. A...khi chi nhoi bot banh bao, chi nhoi bot quen tay roi nen dung het 1 bag bot luon, khong chua lai mot ti bot nao. TD lam lai nhu vay nhung mua them 1 bag extra nua dde neu no co nhao thi co bot dde bo vao them.
      Chuc thanh cong nhen.

      Delete
  25. what is you dont have a steamer?

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  26. what do you do if you dont have a steamer?

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  27. If you don't have a steamer, you can use a big pot and place a tall bowl in the middle of the pot. Fill the pot with water just half way of the bowl. Place a large plate ( that would fit inside of the pot) on top of the bowl . There you will have a steamer.

    ReplyDelete
  28. made this today after weeks of contemplating due to numerous failed attempts with other recipes, i may say it's a success, i got the result i've been looking for, soooooo good esp. with a glass of ice-cold pepsi ( i stopped counting the calories)... got worried though when i went back and checked the premix bao flour ingredients, it has phosphate and sulfates, yaks... i guess can't eat it everyday... thanks for sharing your recipe!

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  29. Thank you for your post. I was browsing last night and found your site. Tried the banh bao today and made 12 beautiful, yummy banh bao. I don't cook much but definitely will try other recipes since it was a success today!!!

    Who knows? I may find the hidden inside me :)

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  30. Hi Loan,

    Can I use ground chicken instead of pork?

    Thank you

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  31. Hello chi Loan,
    I just recently found your blog and love love it. Thank you for sharing your recipes. You make them seem so effortless that I want to try them all. Your daughters are lucky to have you. I also admire your patience and grace in answering all the questions (even the annoying and silly ones hehehe)

    ReplyDelete