Sous Vide Pork Bao
A professional chef, Gigi Gaggero is a nationally recognized expert in culinary education, and former dean and academic director of Le Cordon Bleu in Northern California. Her first experience with sous vide was in the 1980's in restaurant kitchens when the equipment was ...
I was working with another professional chef on Chinese New Year and she had miniature bao on the menu. They were so good I couldn't get them out of my mind! I knew the best method to obtain a maximum flavor profile and succulent textures was to sous vide. Bao is a great finger food - and something a little more exotic to serve for Super Bowl. Perfectly complemented by sweet and tangy slaw!
Be aware - there are a LOT of ingredients for all three components of this recipe, the Pork, the Slaw, and the Bao itself. Don't be scared! It's absolutely worth it, but you can always use just one of the recipes if you need to.
Ingredients for 10
FOR THE PORK - 2 lb/900g pork butt
1 cup/250 ml soy sauce
1 cup/250 ml chicken stock
2 c/400g brown sugar
1/2 c/125 ml honey
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 c/125 ml oyster sauce
5 cloves garlic
1 large onion, cleaned and peeled, rough chop
1/4 c/30 g cornstarch
2 1"/2cm knobs of ginger, peeled and smashed
FOR THE SLAW - 2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 standard head of green cabbage, sliced very thin
1/2 standard head of red cabbage, sliced very thin
4 scallions/green onions/spring onions cleaned and sliced thin diagonally
2 Tablespoons neutral flavor vegetable oil
1/8 - 1/4 cup/~35 - 65 ml rice wine or apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons sweet soy sauce
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
White & black sesame seeds for garnish
FOR THE BAO - 2 packets fast acting active dry yeast
1 1/2 c/~350 ml warm water
4 c/480 g all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
Salt and pepper the pork cubes well and place in a gallon sized zip lock bag.
In the bowl of your food processor or blender, add all the ingredients except for the pork and the ginger. Process until liquid. Reserve a 1/2 – 1 cup of the marinade. Add 1 piece of smashed ginger to the reserve and set aside air tight in the refrigerator.
Add the additional knob of ginger to the remaining marinade and place in a small high-sided sauce pan. Heat marinade to a boil stirring occasionally until thicken. Remove and cool.
Place the thickened marinade in the bag with the pork and distribute evenly. Seal. Allow pork to marinate overnight.
After at least 8 hours, set your Anova Precision Cooker to 160ºF/71ºC.
Place the pork in the bath and set your timer for 48 hours.
While the Pork is Cooking
MAKE THE SLAW: In a small mixing bowl combine the cabbage, carrots, scallions and cilantro. Toss and set aside. In an additional small bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Taste. Adjust seasoning and sweetness to your liking. Drizzle over the cabbage and toss to coat. Set aside. Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.
MAKE THE BAO: The buns are best made right before serving. Serve them warm and allow your guests to split and fill. So easy but does requires special equipment. Wok, or high sided wide pan to fit a three-tier steaming basket on. Parchment paper. You can also ask your local Asian bakery if they can make these for you. Or improvise and steam in your steaming basket. Just make sure each bun in on top of parchment paper and not directly on the steaming surface.
Bao Buns Step 1: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment (you can also just use a regular mixing bowl and knead by hand), dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water. Add the sugar. Allow to sit for about ten minutes until the yeast is activated and foams.
Bao Buns Step 2: Sift together the flour and baking powder, and add it to the yeast mixture along with the oil and salt. Add more water until the mixture comes together , knead an additional 1-2 minutes on low setting until the dough is smooth and pulling away from the sides and you begin to see a ball forming.
Bao Buns Step 3: Turn out into a slightly oiled bowl. Cover with a slightly damp cloth, and allow to rise let it rest for 2 hours. Once dough has doubled in size twist of golf ball size pieces and form balls. Please on a lined cookie sheet and allow to rise again for about 30 minutes.
Bao Buns Step 4: When balls are puffy, place in a parchment lined steaming basket covered and steam for 12-15 minutes depending on the size. Remove from parchment when warm. Serve Immediately.
Finishing Steps - Pork
Once pork is cooked, remove from bath and bag and shred with a fork. Heat the reserved marinade and toss through to moisten meat. Taste, adjust seasoning. Split warm pork buns and fill generously with pork filling. Top with delicious cool sweet and tangy slaw