Friday, October 30, 2009

Hot Dog Bao (Steamed Buns)

This is one of those times when two simultaneous kitchen projects somehow came together to form one glorious and tasty concoction. I was taste testing Helmbold's hot dog sauce for a comparison with the Hot Dog Charlie's chili sauce, and I was also whipping up some Baozi (steamed buns) as a way to utilize some left over red pork. Somewhere during the evening the idea for Hot Dog Bao came to me like a flash of lighting from the heavens! I often find inspiration in the glorious tube steak (does that sound bad?).

I will start out by sharing the original idea that I had, we shall get to the hot dog bao in a moment. As I said before, I had some left over red pork from Lam's Kitchen in Guilderland. They do a fairly good job of the pork, it is cheesy, sweet, with a garish artificial redness, but I like it anyways.

I whipped up some airy, bao dough according to this recipe. Make sure you let it have a really good rise, bao should be airy little pillows of dough.

I halved the dough, made it into a little dough snake, and hacked it up into equal, golf ball sized balls. I flattened these out by hand and filled with about a table spoon of pork. I had chopped the pork up fairly fine and mixed in a little hoisin sauce.

The bao went into my little steaming tray to rise for about an hour, this is them pre-rise.

I steamed the buns for about 30 minutes. They came out all shiny and soft, looking very like legit cha siu bao that I have bought pre-made at the Asian Markets. The dough was soft and there was just enough porky goodness in the center.

I had a bunch of dough left when I ran out of pork, and this is when divine inspiration struck. I saw the pile of Helmbold's little dogs that I had cooked and the hot dog sauce bubbling away on the stove and immediately decided that this would make a superlative steamed bun filling.

I used about an inch of dog and a teaspoon of chili for the center of each bun.

These steamed for about 30 minutes as well, they came out looking like unassuming steamed buns. No hint to the hot dog center could be discerned from the outside. I thought that this one looked especially good.

And here it is ripped open to display the wursty center. Maybe this pic is a little NSFW? or maybe I just have a dirty mind.

Anyway, the hot dog bao were really good. A lot of hot dog carts steam their buns anyways, so this is not a huge departure from normality. As I am planning to have a hot-dog-stravaganza imminently, I froze most of these to share with friends at a later date. My full review of the Helmbold's hot dog sauce will be coming in the next couple days. I trust that everyone will have a pleasant weekend.

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