The taste of Spring in a pastry case! Perfect either served warm as a seasonal main, or chilled and packed for a picnic.
Although this recipe requires some effort the actual hands on time isn’t that consuming and the results really are worth the effort – share with friends who you want to impress!
Ingredients for 10 buns
For the beef
- 4 short beef ribs
- 10cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 star anise
For the buns
- 260g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp fast action yeast
- 50ml milk at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil plus extra for greasing
For the chilli relish
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g chilli, mixed red and green, deseeded and cut in strips
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- shredded carrot and spring onion
- 2 tbsp hoi sin sauce
- Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark 3. Place the ribs in a roasting tin, scatter over the ginger and star anise and then just cover with hot water from the kettle. Cover tightly with foil and cook for around 2½ hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Drain discarding the liquid, aromatics and bones and then shred the meat using 2 forks. When ready to use heat the meat in small pan with the hoisin sauce and a little water.
- For the buns, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast, then the milk, oil and about 50ml warm water. Mix to a dough and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Return to the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and set aside to rise for around an hour.
- Line 2 baking trays with parchment. Lightly oil a chopstick or wooden skewer. Tip out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and then cut into 10 pieces. Roll each into a ball and then roll out to a flat oval using a rolling pin. Brush a little oil over the surface, place the oiled chopstick or skewer across the middle and fold over to make a half oval. Gently slide out the stick and place the bun on the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the trays and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes.
- To make the chilli relish, heat the oil in a pan, add the chillis and stir fry for around 10 minutes until softened. Stir in the sugar and vinegar and cook for 2-3 minutes until just sticky. Remove from the heat (this keeps in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week).
- To steam the buns, heat a pan of water until boiling, place a lidded steamer over the top, lined with baking parchment. Steam the buns in batches for around 8 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove from the steamer, split and stuff with the beef, shredded vegetables and some chilli relish.
A soft, light Pinot Noir is an ideal match for these sticky beef bao buns.
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