Bao literally translates to “bun” in english. They are soft little pillows of bread that can be filled with literally anything. I’ve had bao filled with kung pao chicken, egg roll filling, and even banana and peanut butter.
They are a complete meal in a nice little portable package. I know that I always say that challah is one of the only carbs actually worth eating, but bao are a very, very close second! I love this fusion of Jewish tradition with the flavors of China and I hope you will too!
⅓ Cup warm water
½ Cup warm milk
3 Teaspoons instant yeast
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 ½ cup flour
½ Teaspoon baking powder
½ Teaspoons salt
¾ Cup broccoli, chopped small
½ White onion
2 Large Carrots
1 Tablespoon chili garlic paste or sriracha
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
½ Teaspoon ground ginger
1 Teaspoon Chinese five spice
2 Teaspoons sugar
1 Teaspoon rice wine vinegar
Combine warm water, milk, active yeast, sugar and oil. Mix in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with a sturdy spatula. Once fully mixed, knead for 3 to 4 minutes. The dough should be elastic and really soft but not stick to your fingers or on the mixing bowl.
Place the dough in a well greased bowl and let rise for two hours or until roughly tripled in size.
While the dough is rising, heat the sesame oil to saute the vegetables for the filling. Once the veggies begin to soften, add the chili garlic paste, soy sauce, ground ginger, Chinese five spice, sugar and rice wine vinegar. Cook for five more minutes and let fully cool.
Cut the doubt into six equal pieces. Take the first piece and roll into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Place ⅓ cup of filling into a line in the center of the rectangle and pinch the seam together to form a log. Repeat two more times until you have three equal sized logs filled with the vegetable mixture. Braid together just as you would a three strand challah. Complete with the remaining dough and filling.
Let the loaves rest for 20 minutes while you heat water with a steamer basket on top (you can also do this in the instapot). Brush the tops of the loaves with vegetable oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Steam each loaf for 15-20 minutes and enjoy!