Ever heard of bao (or, technically, baozi)? They're steamed, bread-like buns filled with, in this case, meat, onions and lots of herbs and spices. I hadn't heard of them either until a few years ago, when Nate, me and our friend Adam stopped at a bao-to-go place at a mall on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. They were delicious, but it never occurred to me I could make them at home.
Fast forward to early this winter, when Nate and I were going through Cooking Lights dating back to late 2008. We decided to go through and rip out any recipes we knew we would make at some point and ditch the rest of the magazine. A recipe for Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao) was one Nate ripped out, and I was all for it.
We actually made the baos a few months ago (above), but put four of them in the freezer to keep for later. Today, we took those baos out, and from frozen, steamed them (below) in a bamboo steamer on the wok. They tasted as though they were freshly made. The recipe includes pork tenderloin coated with a five-spice powder, green onions, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and more.
Today, we served the buns with an Asian-y salad: romaine lettuce, red pepper, pea pods, broccoli and tomatoes with a spicy peanut vinaigrette dressing from Trader Joes. I like dipping the buns in extra hoisin sauce.