Total time: 3 hours.
1/2 pound ground pork, ground chicken, or ground turkey
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 eggs, hardboiled, peeled, and quartered lengthwise
Chinese sausage, sliced thinly on the diagonal into coins
about 2 tsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1/2 cup peas (optional)
1 cup milk, scalded
¼ cup (60 gm/2 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon (2 gm) salt
2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
3 cups (420 gm/15 oz) plain flour
1. Scald milk and then stir in sugar, oil and salt, leave to cool until it is lukewarm. Once it is the right temperature add yeast, leave until yeast is activated and it becomes frothy, about 10 – 15 minutes.
2. Sift flour in to a large bowl.
3. Add milk/yeast mixture to the flour. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.
4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.
5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 – 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
6. Punch down dough and divide in to 16 equal portions.
7. Roll each dough portion in to a 3 1/2 inches to 4 inches round.
8. For each bánh bao, roll out dough. Put approximately 1 tbsp of raw ground meat in center, top with egg quarter, and press 3-5 slices of Chinese sausage around the meat. Pleat dough around and around, gathering edges together on top. Pinch to seal well. Repeat until all dough has been used. Place on 4 inch square of parchment paper. Let rest 20 minutes.
9. Place buns in bamboo steamer, leaving space between the buns.
10. Heat water in a wok until it is simmering and place steamers one on top of each other in the wok.
11. Place lid on top bamboo steamer and steam for approximately 15 minutes.
Bánh Bao are typically made with quail eggs, but I don’t have access to those, so I just used some quartered chicken eggs. You can substitute andouille sausage and a pinch of crushed red pepper for the Chinese sausage, but it’s not quite the same.