Bao, bau, baozi, mantou, bakpoa, paoare, siopao, or humbow; you probably know them best as Steamed Buns or Boa Buns. They’re those soft fluffy white pockets filled with a sweet or savory filling.
Baos or whatever you call them originated in Northern China where wheat instead of rice is widely grown. They’ve been around for hundreds of years. Legend has it that Baos originated during the Three Kingdom Period when a Chinese general needed to cross a raging river with his army. To ensure safe crossing the people on the other side of the river demanded that the general sever the head of 50 men; instead the general used large meat filled dough balls which satisfied the demand.
Meat filled bao buns have always been a favorite in the Philippines where they are called Siopao, they’re also popular in Hawaii where they’re known as Manapua. Both places have a large Chinese population who introduced this delicacy many years ago. In fact many countries with large Chinese communities have a version of this popular food. Recently their popularity has increased worldwide.
Baos can be shaped into balls, as they were in the legend, or they can be folded like taco shells. They can be filled with your favorite savory meats such as char siu or sweet roast pork, pork belly, and chicken curry; or they can be filled with sweets such as black bean paste, taro, or custard.
One of my favorite bao fillings is Korean Fried Chicken, crispy fried chicken bites dipped in a sweet and spicy sauce garnished with fresh chopped cilantro, sliced onions, and cucumbers.
Click here for the Korean Fried Chicken recipe!
Another favorite filling is Boneless Kalbi Short Ribs, thin slices of beef short ribs marinated in a sweet and salty sauce. Then grilled and garnished with fresh green onions and sesame seeds.
Click here for the Boneless Kalbi Short Ribs recipe!
But first things first, before you can fill steamed buns you must make them. To make homemade buns you will need a steamer, I use bamboo steamer baskets, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Other than that making steamed buns are pretty easy using ingredients that are readily available if you don’t already have them in your kitchen.
So let’s make bao buns, then you can fill them with just about anything you desire.
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Bao Buns – Steamed Buns
3 3/4 Cups flour
2 Tbs. Sugar
2 Tsp. Instant Yeast
3 Tbs. Milk
3/4 Warm water
3 Tbs. Butter – softened
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
Mix together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of your standing mixer or a large bowl if kneading by hand.
Place warm water and milk in a separate bowl, stir in butter until it melts.
Using the dough hook of your mixer gradually stir liquid into flour mixtures.
Knead for 10 minutes either in your mixer or by hand.
Turn dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or towel. Leave in a warm spot until dough doubles in size, about 2 hours.
Once dough has doubled in size turn out onto a floured surface. Gently knead dough for a couple of minutes then cut into 20 pieces which you will roll into balls.
Roll each ball with a rolling pin into an oval shape about 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.
Place on parchment paper while you roll the rest of the balls.
Brush dough ovals with olive oil.
Place a chopstick in the middle of the dough oval and fold over. It should now be shaped like a taco shell with a space in the fold where the chopstick is. The oiled surface should be inside of the fold.
Slip chopstick out, place on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, and fold the rest of the ovals.
Cover pan with plastic wrap or towel making sure plastic doesn’t touch the dough as it will stick.
Leave to rise for another hour.
When dough has risen bring water in large pot or wok to a boil. Place about 3-4 buns into a steamer basket and steam for 10 minutes.
Remove steamed buns from steamer basket and keep it on a plate in the oven to keep warm.
Fill and serve!
Homemade Steamed Bao Buns
I just love Crab Cakes, don’t you? What’s not to like? They’re crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside and delicious to boot!
For some reason I used to think Crab Cakes were something you ordered as an appetizer at a fancy restaurant, that is until I realized just how easy they are to make at home. Actually what prompted me to explore the making of crab cakes were the Crab Cake burgers they had on the menu at Ruby Tuesday’s. I loved them! Then for whatever reason they disappeared from the menu, boo! In the end I decided that Carb Cakes were super easy to make, and guess what, you can even make a bunch to freeze for later use!
So know not only do we make homemade Crab Cakes for those Crab Cake burgers, we make them for potlucks, game days, birthday parties, and other events. They’re great appetizers and snacks too of course!
For the best Crab Cakes I use Jumbo Lump Crab meat or if I can’t find that Lump Crab meat is the next best thing. I avoid using canned crab meat as it’s too shredded and in my opinion has a fishier smell and taste.
So here’s my recipe for Crab Cakes and Remoulade, which is a must have! Remoulade is the dipping sauce for the cakes and I also use it as a condiment when making crab cake burgers.
1 Lb. Jumbo Lump Crab meat
1/4 Cup Panko
2 Tsp. fresh parsley chopped
2 Stalks Green onions chopped
1 Tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Tbs. Mayonaise
Oil for frying
Combine crab, panko, parsley, green onion, and Old Bay in a bowl. Mix well, it should be lumpy so don’t over mix it.
In a separate bowl beat egg, mayo, and mustard together.
Combine with crab mixture until it’s evenly distributed.
Form into patties – larger patties for burgers or small ones for appetizers.
Place on a sheet covered with parchment paper and refrigerate for about 1/2 hour or until firm.
Heat oil in pan and pan fry patties until it turns brown and crispy on the outside, gently turn over and fry other side.
Drain on paper towels before serving.
1/2 Cup Mayonaise
1 stalk green onion chopped
1 Tsp. relish
1 Tsp. Hot Sauce (I use Crystal or Louisiana)
1 Tbs. Horseradish (not the creamy type)
1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
1/8 Tsp. Cayenne Red Pepper
Mix everything together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Easy Crab Cakes with Remoulade
Easy Crab Cakes with Remoulade
I think one of the prettiest salads you can have is the Caprese Salad. It’s vibrant colors are so inviting, promising something creamy, fresh and delicious.
What you may ask is a Caprese Salad. It’s an Italian salad of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil with a light vinaigrette dressing. It’s said that Caprese Salad was originally made to honor the Italian flag which is Red, White, and Green; the same colors of the salad.
Caprese Salad is definitely a family favorite. It’s not only delicious but it’s so easy to make. We have it for lunch, as a panino or sandwich. You can place the ingredients between 2 slices of bread or better yet a ciabatta roll, grill it just until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts, and you have a wonderfully simple meal!
The most important thing to remember when making Caprese Salad at home is to use the freshest ingredients you can find. This mean unless absolutely necessary the prepacked balls of mozzarella in the supermarket’s dairy case just won’t do!
Short of bringing home fresh mozzarella from Italy (which I’ve actually done) I usually find fresh mozzarella at Costco or the deli counter. It’s the balls of cheese that’s usually floating in the tub it’s packaged in. You’ll know it’s fresh because it’s softer than those hard balls packed in plastic wrap.
Tomatoes of course are fresh, pick nice ripe ones. I get mine from my garden along with the fresh basil. If you don’t have a basil plant (and you should! it’s so easy to keep even a small one in the kitchen window) you can buy fresh basil leaves at the grocery store.
Once you have all the fresh ingredients all you really need is some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of Italian seasoning if you have it, and some salt. If you don’t have Italian seasoning you can use dried oregano, parsley, or basil or you can just use black pepper.
Caprese Salad is great for a light lunch or as a fresh addition to any meal. It’s tasty and refreshing, the perfect summer salad!
5-6 slices of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (slices should be about 1/2″ thick)
1 Firm Ripe Tomato – sliced in about 1/2″ thick rounds
3-6 Fresh Basil Leaves
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp. Italian Dressing
Salt & Pepper to taste
Slice mozzarella and tomatoes into 1/2″ rounds and arrange on a plate. Alternate tomato and cheese to make it look nice.
You can also add a basil leaf between the cheese and tomato or you can place the leaves in the center. Place the three ingredients on the plate any way you find pleasing.
Mix together oil and vinegar.
Add 1/2 Tsp. of Italian seasoning to the oil mixture and stir well.
Drizzle over the fresh ingredients just before serving.
Sprinkle remaining Italian Seasoning over all and season with salt and pepper if desired.
Looking for something fun and simple to make for lunch this summer? Something the kids and adults will love? How about these Ham & Cheese Sliders?
These Ham & Cheese Sliders are super easy to make and they’re great for lunch, snacks, and even potlucks. We serve them during pool parties, the kids and adults love them. Best of all they’re very easy to make and can be prepped ahead of time. Just pop them in the oven about half an hour before serving. They’re great hot or cold.
Here’s what you need to make them! I’m sure your family will love them as much as mine does. The kids usually fight over the left overs!
By the way you can use ham or if you prefer turkey or turkey ham. I use King’s Bakery Hawaiian Sweet Rolls but if you can’t find them any kind of sweet dinner rolls will work. I also use the ham and cheese I have sliced at the deli, I like the slices a bit thicker; but you can use the packed have you find at your grocer’s refrigerated case like Oscar Mayer or whatever brand you prefer. I use Munster Cheese because it melts well and has a mild flavor everyone enjoys, but you can use whatever cheese you like.
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Ham & Cheese Sliders
2 Package King’s Bakery Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
1 Lb. Sliced Ham
1 Lb. Sliced Munster Cheese or your preferred cheese
1/2 Stick Melted Butter
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbl. Chopped fresh parsley
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray.
Cut dinner rolls in half horizontally.
Place bottom of rolls tightly against each other in the pan, you should be able to fit 36 rolls.
Cut Ham and Cheese slices into squares about the same size as the rolls.
Place 2-3 slices of ham and 2-3 slices of cheese on each roll.
Place Roll tops on the cheese filling.
Mix garlic powder and parsley into melted butter.
Brush butter mixture on the rolls.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve hot or cold.
This is the perfect side for your next BBQ.
PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 10 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 0 HOURS 30 MINS
FOR THE PASTA SALAD
1 lb. penne
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. chopped romaine lettuce
1 c. halved grape tomatoes
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 c. croutons
2/3 c. Caesar dressing
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook penne according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Season chicken with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Cook until golden and cooked through, 8 minutes per side. Let rest 10 minutes, then cut into 1″ pieces.
Add romaine, tomatoes, Parmesan, croutons, and chicken to pasta bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together Caesar dressing, lemon juice, and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Pour over penne mixture and toss to combine.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Looking for something simple, light, and tasty for lunch? These no cook Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels are a hit with kids and adults alike. They’re easy to make, require absolutely zero cooking skills, and are really good.
We used to buy them by the tray at Costco. We all loved them and they were always a big hit at potlucks. But it seems the price went up on a try, either that or I finally paid attention to the price. Whatever the case may be $40 for a tray of something we can easily make at home seemed a bit steep.
So we’ve been making these pinwheels at home. I’ve actually had my grandsons making them. They put them together and I slice them. We recently hosted a pool party in our backyard and these Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels were on the menu. The kids had some for lunch and snacked on the rest all afternoon.
These Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels are ideal for lunch, snacks, as appetizers, and for potlucks. Best of all you can whip a tray up in no time! Here’s what you need to make them. Feel free to adjust the amounts needed to suit your needs.
Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels
1 Pkg. 10″ Flour Tortillas (or you can use Spinach Tortillas)
1 Container Strawberry Flavored Cream Cheese Spread
1 Lb. Sliced Turkey Breast (I like to use the roasted turkey breasts from the deli, I have them sliced a little thicker, but you can use any brand of pre-packaged Turkey Breast)
1 Lb. Sliced Swiss Cheese
Lettuce Leaves (I use the Mizuna lettuce I grow in my garden because they are flat, but you can use any type of lettuce or even spinach leaves)
Spread cream cheese evenly on a tortilla. Spread to about 1/4′ from the edge.
Place turkey slices on top of cream cheese, you will need more than 1 slice to fill the surface of the tortilla.
Place Cheese over the turkey slices.
Gently flatten lettuce leaves and place on top of the cheese.
Roll the tortilla jelly roll style. Make sure you roll the tortilla tightly so that it won’t unravel when you slice it.
Seal seam to the roll with a dab of cream cheese to keep it from unrolling.
Slice off both ends of the roll. Slice it so that both ends are straight and show the filling.
Slice the roll from left to right making sure each slice is about 1″ wide. You should get about 6 slices.
Place pinwheel slices on serving platter and repeat process until you have enough pinwheels for your needs.
If you have leftovers you can store them in the fridge in airtight containers.
Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels - Easy Finger Food
Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels - Easy Finger Food