This is one of the most popular snacks for Vietnamese, and specially for families with little kids. The grandparents always buy a few to bring over when they come and visit. I was lucky enough to experience that happiness often with my grandparents. These buns are identical looking to the Chinese steamed buns, but the stuffing for these Vietnamese buns varies. So you ask what's inside each of these big and fluffy buns? They include garlic, onion, ground pork, chicken or quail eggs, Chinese sausage, shitake mushrooms, abalone, green peas and probably more depends on the region and maker, etc. The basic Banh Bao at the Vietnamese markets will most likely be ground pork with a quarter of a boiled egg and a slice of Chinese sausage. You should get one to try the next time you're in Vietnamese-town or make these babies yourself using the recipe from below.
RECIPE for 10 large steamed buns.
1 package of Banh Bao/Steamed Bun ready-mix, (have some extra all-purpose flour to work with to prevent the dough from sticking onto the working surface)
½ cup sugar
1 cup fresh milk
1 tbs white vinegar (for the steamer water)
Meat stuffing ingredients:
1/2 lb lean ground pork
4 links of Chinese sausage, sliced 30 thin slices using 2 links and dice the rest
1 small white onion, diced small
1 tbs premium oyster sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1/2 tbs sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
10 quail eggs, hard boil
Make 10 sheets of 4x4 parchment paper, serve as bottom liners for the buns.
Place flour in large bowl. Add sugar to flour. Then pour milk slowly, 2-3 tbs at a time into bowl while mixing flour with hand. Kneading flour for 10 min, then add in 1 tbs of oil. Knead another 2-3 mins to incorporate the oil. Then set aside 20 min, cover with damp towel at room temp.
While waiting on dough to rise, make the filling by combining the meat, sausage, garlic, onion, peas, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
Take dough out. Divide into 19 portions. Roll out dough, using reserved flour so it won’t stick to work surface. Roll dough to equal thickness, approximately 5-inch round, 1/8 inch thickness.
Spoon in filling, approximately 2 tablespoon-full of meat mixture in the middle of the dough. Top with egg and slices of sausage. Seal the top of bun by bunching the dough and squeeze to seal it. Place the 4x4 paper on the bottom of bun.
To set your steamer water, use 1 tbs white vinegar with the water. Steam buns for 10 mins, then open lid to release water and steam. Close lid to steam for another 5 mins.
Wrap each bun in cling wraps to store in refrigerator if needed.