|Chinese baozi in steamer|
The sun broke through in the afternoon, it was so bright, I suddenly felt that I had to go out – being in the sun, after all I have been missing it for a few days. So I found myself a little excuse – need to buy my mum a birthday gift.
Wow, the whole city centre of Oxford was … too crowded. My friend did warn me there is a ‘funfair’ going on.
I think I must have frowned all the way as I was trying to squeeze through, but suddenly, without realizing, I stopped, smiled, could not move my feet – I was in front of a ‘merry-go-rounds’ — the little kids were riding on the ‘horses’, flying with their dreams.
I couldn’t figure out what exact magic there, but I have always liked to get on one of those ‘horses’. Unfortunately when I was little, it was normally a long queue, and not enough ‘horses’ for every kid, rather ‘not so cool’ boats or something, and I was too slow to grab one before the other kids. But always – I always had that wish that I would ride those ‘horses’.
Until one day, I was already in my early 20s, I took my cousin’s daughter to the ‘funfair’, it was so empty, the ‘horses’ were going round and round without any kids on their ‘back’. The person who was selling the tickets told us that we could pay a ticket and ride for one hour. I immediately asked, ‘could I get on as well? Please!’ He kindly let me. — Then my dream eventually came true.
I guess the ticket vendor thought nobody could stay one hour there, after all, rounds after rounds, we would get off at exact spot where we got on, people would get tired quickly. But he was wrong – I ride one a pretty ‘horse’ for an hour, just round and round. it did not take me to anywhere further, but it took me to a dream that it could only happen in childhood, and there I can just dream whatever I want, without any reality crashes …
Continued from yesterday, how to make Baozi. :)
For the pastry, you will need to use raised flour, normally plain flour with raising agent, but some times, for making it more ‘healthier’, I would mix half amount of whole meal flour in, or corn flour. However, this kind of mix cannot be expected raising up as much as plain flour alone.
As for the amount, I normally use 4 full cups of flour to make around average sized 15 Baozi, and I would say 3-5 Baozi per person, so here you go, the numbers. :) I do make a bit more each time, it can be frozen and re-heated up.
As I mentioned yesterday, most of the dumplings’ fillings are good for Baozi, but because of different pastry and different way of cooking (one is boiling and the other is steaming), even the same filling, it can turn out slight different taste. But in the recipe, I made vegetarian one – mix Chinese leaves, Mu’er (black fungus), Chinese mushrooms, and Fensi.
It is very easy to make.
For 4 cups of flour, I used: one Chinese leaves, It is better to use only the outer layers with big stem part; one handful dried Mu’er, (or one bowl of well soaked Mu’er); one big handful dried Chinese mushrooms (Xiang gu); one small bunch of Fensi.
Salt, oil, (as I mentioned, ‘cooked oil’ is definitely good for this filling mix), sesame oil, light soy sauce, ground Sichuan peppercorn, five spices powder (or 13 spices powder) — although I mentioned that the ‘spiced water’ can be used instead of five spices powder, but in this case, I wouldn’t recommend, simply because apart from Fensi, the rest of the ingredients are not good at absorbing liquid, and too much liquid could cause problems for sealing ‘Baozi’, MSG or Vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional).
1) Soak Mu’er and Chinese mushroom in warm water for 1 hour or until it is soft, and Fensi for around 20 mins in warm water.
2) Chop Chinese leaves (the better to use the outer part with big stem), mu’er, Chiense mushroom, and Fensi into small pieces (mince).
3) Mix all chopped ingredients together, then add 1 teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoon of oil, 1 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, 2/3 teaspoon of ground Sichuan peppercorn, 1 flat teaspoon of five spices powder (or 13 spices powder, 1/2 teaspoons of MSG or Vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional).
|Preparing the baozi’s fillings|
4) Mix everything well, probably it is better to leave the mix for a little while, for example 15 minutes, so the excess juice from the Chinese leaves would come out, then try to get ride of any excess liquid – this might effect the taste that have already been mixed, so I normally would taste a little bit, see if there is anything needs to be added in.
(To be continued) :)