Friday, September 02, 2016

bao buns with filipino fillings

My boyfriend has been instrumental in getting me to start blogging again. He loves to cook as much as I do, and in fact owns a restaurant and food truck here in St. Louis, Guerrilla Street Food. They are kind of a big deal. They serve modernized Filipino food. I've learned quite a bit about Filipino food in the past year, and I've fallen for it pretty hard. It's Island food, Asian food, Spanish food, American food, and more, all brilliantly combined into it's own unique cuisine. It's fusion before fusion became an overused buzzword.

These Bao/Siopao buns are a combination of Chinese Gua Bao, which are little taco-shaped steam buns usually filled with pork belly, and Siopao Asada, which are a street food popular in the Philippines consisting of a sweet barbecue pork encased in a fluffy white steamed bun.

We both made a different filling. I made Longganisa sausage, which is a sweet pork sausage that I've come to know from Guerrilla Street's longganisa corn dogs and from various dishes at their monthly brunch. I got a grinder attachment for Christmas and have been meaning to try out grinding my own meat and making sausage. This is a fresh, uncased version that's simple to make and very flavorful. There's a good amount of sugar in it so it gets really caramelized when you cook it. HECK YES.

He made a vegetarian version of Asado filling using jack fruit instead of pork. We heard that jack fruit is used a good substitute for pulled pork because of it's texture. It really did turn out great! We're not gonna give up pork, but jack fruit is a good option in it's own right.

It was so fun to "project-cook" with each other. It takes some planning, and good communication, and sharing and helping... and random dancing. I encourage everyone to get in the kitchen with their significant other. I hope these recipes or other recipes on my blog inspire these kind of kitchen adventures.

Bao Buns 
(makes 16)
-1 teaspoon active dry yeast
-1 teaspoon granulated sugar
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup all purpose flour
-1 1/2 cups cake flour
-1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening, melted
-1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water (105ºF-115ºF), and let it stand for 10 minutes or until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours and baking powder, stir in the 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the melted shortening and salt to the yeast mixture. With the dough hook, on low speed, add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and mix until a dough forms. Continue to mix on medium speed to knead the dough for 5 minutes or so until it is smooth. Clean out bowl and oil it. Place the ball of dough back in the bowl, cover and let sit in a warm spot until it doubles in size, at least an hour, mine took almost 2.

Form the dough into a 16 inch log and slice into 16 1 inch pieces. Roll the pieces into balls, then flatten and roll out into ovals, approx 3" x 6".  Lightly brush the top of each oval with vegetable oil, fold lightly then set aside to rise, covered, for another 30 minutes to an hour.
Place each bun on a square of wax or parchment paper and place in a bamboo steamer to steam for 10 minutes. Work in batches, depending on the size of your steamer. Do not crowd the buns in the steamer. Serve immediately with the fillings of your choice, or allow to cool then freeze.

Longganisa filled buns

Fresh Longganisa Sausage 
(makes more than you'll need for the bao...keeps well and is great for breakfast)
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-3 tablespoons rice vinegar
-1 Tablespoon Pernod
-½ cup brown sugar
-1 tablespoon salt
-2.5 lbs coarsely ground pork butt
-6-8 cloves garlic, minced
-2 teaspoons black pepper
-2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, Pernod, sugar and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the pork with the garlic, pepper and paprika. Pour in the soy sauce mixture and work into the meat with your hands until well-incorporated. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Form and cook as desired. For these buns, I did some free-form sausage shapes, patties and balls. Yep. Balls.

Cucumber Red Onion Quick Pickles
-1 cucumber
-1/2 medium red onion
-3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
-2 Tablespoons soy sauce
-2 teaspoons sugar
-2 Tablespoons minced cilantro
-5-6 pineapple sage leaves, chopped fine

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Slice thin and place in a shallow baking dish with the sliced onions. Combine the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the cucumbers and onions. Sprinkle the cilantro and sage over. Toss to combine everything. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Stir before serving.

Jack fruit Asado-filled buns
Jack fruit Asado
-2 20 oz. cans jack fruit, rinsed and drained, seeds removed
-1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening
-1 yellow onion, chopped
-6 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 cup water
-3/4 cup Asado sauce (below)

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a shallow sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat, melt the shortening. Add the onions and garlic and season with salt, cook until translucent. Add the jack fruit and water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until jack fruit can be pulled apart like pulled pork. Mash with a wire potato masher or pull apart using 2 forks. Do not over mash. It should look like pulled pork. Pour the Asado sauce over the jack fruit and stir, cooking another 2 or 3 minutes until well combined. Line a cookie sheet with foil and coat with vegetable oil. Spread the jack fruit evenly on the sheet and place in the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes until the sauce has absorbed into the jack fruit and it has gotten darker and drier. Serve on steamed buns hot, with extra sauce, chopped scallions and chiles (if desired) or cucumber red onion quick pickles (see above).

Asado Sauce
-4 Tablespoons soy sauce
-4 Tablespoons sugar
-3 Tablespoons oyster sauce
-1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce

Combine all ingredients well. Serve on jack fruit Asado buns.

Related posts from the archives
Siopao pork steamed buns
Salsiccia balls with peppers and polenta
Pretzel balls with mustard rarebit
Mongolian beef balls
Wonton soup
Fish balls with sweet pork filling

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