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filled bao flat lay

how a bao it?

These steamed buns are super fluffy and slightly chewy—just the way they should be. They're popular in Taiwan but have recently started trending in the west after becoming a popular item on the menu at Chef David Chang's New York restaurant, Momofuku. 

In Taiwan they're known as Gou Bao, which roughly translates to 'tiger bits pig' named after the mouth like shape and the pork filling. You can really play around with what goes inside though based on whatever suits your tastes. 

If this happens to be your first time eyeing this strange-looking bun, the closest comparison is the hamburger. The bun can be gently opened with your hands and fillings popped inside. Instead of ground beef ingredients like braised pork, roast duck or tofu are used along with a sticky sauce, fresh crunchy vegetables and herbs such as coriander.

The buns can be time-consuming to make from scratch and perfecting them really does take practice. Our buns are ready to go, all you need to do is come up with a filling! Here's how we fill our bao:

For the slaw: Thinly slice 1 cucumber, thinly slice 1 carrot into match sticks (or grate) then gently mix with 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of mayonaise, 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds and a pinch of salt. Set this aside to do it's thing while you work on the next step. 

For the protein: Cut the block of tofu into 8 slices. Coat each piece of tofu first in flour, then egg, then flour again. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large fry pan. Cook tofu in batches, 1-2 minutes on each side until crisp and golden. Once cooked, set aside on a paper towel and lightly season with salt. 

For the buns: Ensure your buns are well defrosted. Then, pop buns into the microwave for 15 seconds until warm. Don't take them out right away, leave for another 15 seconds to 'breathe' in the steam to ensure their soft and fluffy.

To serve: To serve, open buns, fill with a slice of tofu, slaw and drizzle with a sticky sweet sauce, like hoisin. Sprinkle with coriander and chopped peanuts.



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