Thursday, February 17, 2005

TV Cooking Tip #3 – Five Minute Pao

Ever since my mildly successful attempt at making chive pao, I’ve been looking for the perfect dough recipe. What I want to achieve is the kind that wraps around the cha siew pao, fluffy and soft.

As luck would have it, another one of my frequently watched Japanese TV shows, The Itos' Dinner Table (伊東家の食卓), taught a simple trick to make mini pao (饅頭) dough with only two ingredients. The picture you see above is my first attempt, not exactly pretty and the surface is fuzzy but the taste is uncannily similar to the cha siew pao dough.

You’ll appreciate it even more after you’ve seen how it’s made, I am sure. So here it goes:

80g fresh breadcrumb (生パン粉)
4 tbsp milk

1. Use your fingers to mix the two ingredients until the breadcrumb is wetted evenly. (Don't expect the dough to stick together, the milk only wets the crumbs)
2. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and spread each portion out on a square of saran wrap. Drop a tablespoonful of stuffing of your choice in the middle.
(I used red bean paste from my mame daifuku attempt, but savory filling can be used too)
3. Gather the corners of the saran wrap and twist it shut tight, like in the photo below.

4. Use a toothpick to prick four holes on the top of each wrapped pao, and microwave on 500W for 2 minutes.
5. Open up and you have yourself some mini paos.

I cut down the recipe, so I had to adjust microwave time. For two paos, I did 1 minute and 30 seconds. So total cooking time (including weighing out breadcrumb and digging out the red bean paste from the depth of the fridge) for those very cute and delectable after dinner snacks was a whopping FIVE minutes! This one is a keeper, until I find the perfect real pao recipe. And even when I do find the perfect real recipe, this one will still be on the top of the list for a quick snack.



Hsin said...

5 minutes? Wow. Very impressive. Even I'm tempted to try. My problem would be coming up with suitable filling...

Must be the world's fastest short cut to pao making.

Lynn said...

Come on, just try it. You can use anything as filling. I bought some kunbu and okaka (kelp and sweet dried fish) to sprinkle on my rice and I'm thinking of stuffing that into the next batch. They have them in onigiris so why not pao?

Karen said...

Hi Lynn,

This looks like a wonderful shortcut. I'm also on the lookout for a nice silky dough recipe but for siomai or wanton. I looked at your chive pao and chive box entries. I'll try them out one of these days, as soon as I get a good amount of chives. (Have been trying to find some for weeks now, for mung bean soup.)

Jessica said...

Hi Lynn,
Wow, how interesting! I wonder how this would be with panko bread crumbs. To answer your question about the bao dough, I don't think the baked dough can be steamed. Generally, the baked dough has eggs, bread flour, and yeast. The steamed variety has all-puprose flour and baking powder! It seems like the dough you made up worked well, but eGullet compared recipes on roast pork buns. I was Just Really Very Hungry posted a recipe as well. I can e-mail you the steamed bun recipe from The Key to Chinese Cooking too.

Lynn said...

Karen, you put chive in mung bean soup?? I've only had mung bean soup in the summer, as dessert. Pray do tell!

Jessica, tis another rainy and gloomy Saturday so I am getting ready to try your cha siew pork recipe! Will let you know how it turns out. Then I will make them into buns, and will definitely use the recipe link you gave.

By the way, I did use panko breadcrumb, but there are two types: dry and fresh. Make sure you use the fresh type.

Karen said...

Yes Madam, savoury mung bean soup. Pre-boiled, strained then sauteed in garlic, onions, bits of pork and shrimp and pork cracklings if you wish. Instead of chives, you can also use tender bitter melon leaves or spinach.

may yoon said...

lynn, hsin tells me you and rachel find it strange that i dont identify myself. problem is that when i fill in the blanks, more requests for info than i care to provide keep popping up. apologise for the anon tag that you find annoying!

anyway, i have a recipe for pow dough that you might want to try. it has always worked for me when the family was still home to partake of the baked/steamed goods. havent tried it for a while and if you do please post the beautiful pics that you do.

A. to start yeast:
3/4 oz fresh yeast (if using dry yeast,1 tbsp - omit flour)
1 tbsp lukewarm water
1 tbsp tap water (think in tokyo, it might be too cold so use room temp water)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp flour

Yeast mixture should rise in 10 mins.

B. 20 - 25 ozs. flour (sorry you may have to use a metric converter)
4 tsps double action baking powder
1.1/2 tbsp corn oil
8 tbsp sugar dissolved in 10 oz lukewarm water (think sugar may be reduced)

1. Combine ingredients A and B and knead for 10 mins. Cover with wet teacloth to proof for 1 to 1.1/2 hours. Punch down and knead at least 20 times. Rest dough for 10 mins. If the dough pulls back, the rest time is insufficient, extend the rest time.

2. Divide dough into 1 oz pieces and fill with chosen filling. As you pleat the closing, be sure not to grease the edges so that the dough will stick.

3. Steaming time: 15 mins for each 1 to 1.1/2 oz dough pow

If the filling is raw, 15 mins for same size. Extend steaming time if pow is larger.

Comments: Steamed pows can be frozen up to 6 months though it rarely makes it that long in our family.

I usually make char siew, red bean paste or unfilled foldover pows to eat with stewed pork or curried beef.

Lynn said...

Karen, you've definitely piqued my interest. I never thought of eating mung bean any other way than in desserts!

May Yoon, your posts were never annoying! It's just that it was a mystery as to who posted them ;o) Thanks so much for sharing your dough recipe. I have finished making the char siew over the weekend, will double cook it today or tomorrow, and have slotted Wednesday as the pao making day! Keep posted.

Hsin said...

My mom asked me to add something she forgot earlier. In case you didn't already know, when steaming the pao, you should put a tea cloth under the cover of the steamer to prevent any condensation falling back onto the pao. Good luck!