Chinese Bao ~ Indian Style

Indian bao

Sticking with the whole “many uses of tandoori chicken” theme, I made something that I have wanted to for a long time, the Chinese bao or bun. I love Asian food, every kind, but am not very good at making any! I want to blame the fact that I have always had an electric cooktop and with an electric cooktop, there is no way to get a wok hot. I use frying pans most of the time ad they get it done but as you know by now, I love to own pans. I feel they add to the authenticity and taste (probably not but this is what I tell my husband as I am spending his money). 

These buns don’t need a wok so I figured I was pretty safe and couldn’t possibly muck it up. Besides, I am good with yeast doughs and I like working with them. Let me tell you that I have never had a bao until the other day when I made my version. I can only imagine that the BBQ’d Chinese ones are pretty amazing. Unfortunately, as much as I love Chinese cuisine, I am unable to try many things because of the high usage of pork which we don’t eat. Therefore, I convert everything to chicken.

Chinese cooking lends itself pretty well to Indian fusion. No surprise really considering the Mongols invaded India many times. I am assuming that their food was very similar to their Chinese neighbours in the South. There are a lot of fusion dishes that Indian chefs and home cooks have created and it is very popular.

I remember when I was young and we used to go to India for summer holidays, one of my favourite places to eat was at the Chinese Indian restaurant. I would wait ever so patiently for my uncles to take us there. I loved every thing they served. They were all Chinese dishes but with a little Indian twist. If you check the ingredients for Chicken 65, you will find soy sauce and I believe this is one of those fusion dishes that became so popular. By the way, if you have never had Chicken 65, make some now! I guarantee it will become one of your favourites. I have my recipe on the site, check it out.

When I baked the tandoori chicken for the Butter Chicken, I had one huge tandoori chicken breast left over. I saved it to make these fusion bao. Instead of the sweet and smoky, barbecued chicken that can be found in a traditional bun, I decided to add an Indian twist by filling with tandoori chicken. It’s really still BBQ; just different spices that’s all. I made some mint and cilantro chutney to mix with the chicken and added a dollop of sweet chilli sauce. They were spectacular! I was really thrilled that they turned out so well.

The dough for the bun is a straightforward yeasted, sweet, milk dough. It was easy to blend and knead and fairly easy to roll. Shaping the buns takes time but that’s not too difficult to do.  

If you’ve never tried bao, maybe try a Chinese Indian fusion one.

Indian Chinese buns

buns5

Chinese Bao ~ Indian Style

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 16 pieces

Ingredients
Bao Dough
  • 3 cups/460g all purpose/plain flour
  • 1 packet/7g instant yeast
  • 11/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup/177mL hot milk (hand hot)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 cups/260g diced, cooked tandoori chicken
Mint-Cilantro Chutney
  • 1 cup/13g fresh mint
  • 1 cup/13g fresh cilantro
  • 1 green chilli
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
Instructions
  1. Make the bao dough first and let it rise.
  2. Proof the yeast in the slightly hot milk with the sugar.
  3. Mix flour and salt together in the bowl of a mixer.
  4. Once the yeast milk mixture is frothy, add to the flour and mix.
  5. Add the egg and the oil.
  6. You may need a bit more milk depending on how dry your flour is that day.
  7. Using the dough hook, let the dough come together.
  8. Knead for about 10 minutes until it is a smooth ball.
  9. Place ball of dough in a greased bowl in a warm place to rise.
  10. Since it's a heavy milk dough, it will take a good 90 minutes to 2 hours to double in size.
  11. Make the chutney.
  12. Add the mint, cilantro, green chilli into a blender with a dribble of water (2 tablespoons or so) and blend to a paste.
  13. Check for salt and add the cumin.
  14. Mix a couple of tablespoons of the chutney and sweet chilli sauce into the chicken filling.
  15. You don't want it too liquidy or it will be hard to make the buns.
  16. Put aside.
  17. Preheat the oven to 350℉/180℃
  18. Once the dough has doubled, pull the dough onto a counter and roll into a log.
  19. Cut into 16 pieces.
  20. Roll each piece into a ball and put aside.
  21. Work one at a time and roll out the ball into a circle of about 6-8 inches (15-20 cm)
  22. Make the dough thicker in the centre, thinner at the edges.
  23. Put a scant teaspoon of the filing into the centre of the rolled dough.
  24. Pull up the edged of the dough towards the centre, pinching the dough and sealing as you go.
  25. Twist the top a bit to ensure it is sealed. I wet the edges a bit, it was easier to seal them that way
  26. Put them on a baking sheet and repeat until all are made into buns.
  27. Brush them with a beaten egg and place them in the oven.
  28. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until they are golden brown and risen.
  29. Cool a little before eating.
  30. Serve with extra sweet chilli chutney or the mint chutney.
Notes
Drain the chicken mixture in the chutney a little before filling the dough. Too much liquid and you will have it seeping through the top.

buns4

 

buns2

So, what do you think of my fusion bao? Having had a few, let me tell you they were excellent and my family gobbled them up. I still want to try the authentic Chinese ones one day, maybe I’ll make them next time.

Now onto important matters, the winner of my Gordon Ramsay cookbook giveaway! Anybody who left a comment on any post and also followed me on one other social media platform, was entered. The more they “followed” the more chances they had. I just made numbered list and put it through a random number guesser/generator. The winner of the Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunches cookbook is…………………Nami from Just One Cookbook! 

Way to go Nami! I will get your details and send the cookbook out. I hope you find it useful in some way. Most of all I just wanted to thank all my readers for their support. I appreciate you all!

Hope you are having a great weekend so far.

White Whole Wheat Rolls

white whole wheat rolls

It snowed the other day, so I baked. There’s just something about snow falling that makes you want to turn on the oven and get knee high in flour. I do prefer the more relaxed snow flakes that fall at leisure and float merrily down to kiss the earth. When snow flakes fall calmly, everything is calm, quiet, serenely white. The sky is white, the ground is bright and you giggle as the snow flakes tickle your nose as they fall.

I don’t like snow flakes with a purpose, the ones that mean business and create havoc with their intense and relentless shower. When these hardcore, polystyrene balls of fury are out, pounding everything beneath them, the sky is gray, the ground is dull and it feels cold and dreary. We were pounded the other day. There wasn’t a lot of accumulation, but it came down hard and angry. So, I baked and filled the house with friendly aromas of fresh, buttery yeast rolls.

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I like to use the white whole wheat flour for my rolls, breads and the whole wheat Indian rotis. I think it has a milder taste and is ground a bit finer than the regular whole wheat and aesthetically, it bakes up a nice golden brown colour.

These white whole wheat rolls bake up soft and buttery, perfect for a bowl of soup, in a dinner bread basket or how I ate them, as a breakfast sandwich with some spicy eggs inside.

white whole wheat rolls

white whole wheat rolls

 

 

White Whole Wheat Rolls

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 15-18 rolls

Ingredients
  • 4 cups/618g white whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons/9g instant, dried yeast (can use 1 packet)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar ( I used raw turbinado)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons/57g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup/118ml milk
  • ¼-1/2 cup warm water
  • milk for brushing tops before baking
  • melted butter for brushing tops after baking
Instructions
  1. Proof your yeast in a ¼ cup warm water and the sugar for about 5 minutes till the mixture is frothy.
  2. The water cannot be too hot or it will kill the yeast.
  3. The water temperature should be comfortably hot on your skin.
  4. While the yeast is proofing, melt the butter and warm the milk.
  5. I usually throw the butter into the milk and stick it in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
  6. The butter should melt and the milk should be warm enough to not kill the yeast.
  7. In a bowl of a mixer with the dough hook attached or a bowl if kneading by hand.
  8. Put the flour and salt into the bowl and mix.
  9. Add the warm milk and butter, and the yeast, sugar mixture.
  10. Mix till the dough is nice and smooth.
  11. You may need another ½ cup of water if the dough looks too dry.
  12. This depends on the dryness of your weather that day and your flour.
  13. Start with a ¼ cup and increase as needed.
  14. It took me a ¼ cup plus a few tablespoons for me to get a nice, smooth, not sticky dough.
  15. Take the dough out of the mixer bowl and do a couple of turns on the kitchen counter just to get it nice and smooth.
  16. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl to rise in a warm place.
  17. Depending on the temperature of your house and even where you live, it will take anywhere from 1 hour to 21/2 hours to get a good rise.
  18. My yeast products rise quickly because of my high altitude.
  19. Sea level may take about 2 hours.
  20. You want the dough to almost double and be soft and airy.
  21. Once it has doubled, put it on ythe kitchen counter and knead it few times.
  22. Then portion into rolls, should get 15-18 rolls.
  23. I got 15 but mine were kind of big.
  24. Cut of a portion and roll on the counter to get a nice round shape.
  25. Mine were not perfectly round.
  26. Place on lightly greased baking sheet, leaving and inch or two between them.
  27. Brush them with milk and cover with plastic wrap.
  28. Let rise for about 30-45 minutes, until they have almost doubled.
  29. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 400℉/200℃ with the rack in the centre.
  30. Remove the plastic wrap, sprinkle with coarse salt if desired, or raw sugar and place the baking sheet in the oven
  31. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the rolls are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
  32. Cool on a wire rack.
  33. Brush with some melted butter.
  34. Serve warm.
Notes
Times are approximate, all depends on your environment.
Cold rolls can be reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds or oven wrapped in foil for 10-15 minutes.

white whole wheat rolls

 

white whole wheat rolls

Hope you are all keeping warm. We are in for another snow storm tonight so, yes, my oven will be on tomorrow! What do you all like to do when the weather is uncooperative? I usually like to read when it’s raining, bake when it’s snowing and climb into the fridge when the sun has turned on its oven.