Yeast, Sugar, and Jiu Cai


When we were little, my dad took our family and invited friends to the same restaurant in Chinatown every week.  I thought this was normal, to eat a Chinese banquet once a week. My favorite things on the table were the pillowy white, sweet and soft and chewy buns branded with red ink that came with the Peking Duck.  My sisters and I would fight over the last  extra bun (in retrospect, there should not have been an extra.  Mom must have—once again—sacrificed). This is the same dough to wrap char siu bao, and yesterday I decided– it was time.

I followed the recipe in Andrea Nguyen’s book for Sheng Jian Baozi–Panfried Pork and Scallion Mini Buns. The dough was easy enough to make, as long as you have a lazy afternoon with time for it to rise. Interestingly it contains both yeast AND baking powder.  Plus–SUGAR–the reason these taste SO good. Of course I could not leave well enough alone and traded out the scallions for  Jiu Cai--garlic chives.  These I chopped, salted, and squeezed out the liquid before adding to the ground pork.  The rolling and wrapping was simple–the same process for potstickers, except just keep pleating till you’ve done the 360.  SUCCESS!  These turned out perfect, the dough was sweet with a great texture, and the filling savory and flavorful.

The dipping sauce: 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water and bring to a boil.  Let cool and pour into individual dipping dishes, top with a little mound of carrot that has been grated finely on my microplane.

Thanks Norma for being my taster today.


Jiu Cai filling and yeast starter, ginger


since this has yeast, it is much puffier than potsticker dough





Yes, I also made egg rolls, but that’s a future post.


note the Tasmanian Devil plate.


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