Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns

Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns
Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns
Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns
Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns
Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns
Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns
Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns
Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns
Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns

It has been a very bun-filled month on Eat Cho Food. It’s also be raining constantly in San Francisco and I feel like rain and chilly weather only kicks up my craving for the fluffiest and most pillow-like of carbs. We finally had a sunny day yesterday and it was glorious! I always forget how dependent I am on the Sun until spring forward happens. I’m very much a Leo and the longer days and warmer weather make my happiness meter go off the charts!

You know what also makes my happiness meter go off the charts? Love : ))))))) sorry if this blog gets too cheesy and mushy for you… you should probably find another blog to read. Reuben and I celebrated 5 years together on Saturday! So this past weekend was a wonderful and slow weekend of enjoying each other’s company, eating really really really good food at Mister Jiu’s, planning for Italy some more, and taking pretty pictures of pizza! I’m so excited, guys. Reuben has finally agreed to let me document and share one of his pizza recipes! I know that 99.9999999999% of you have never had a slice of his pizza before, but it is seriously the best pizza in the universe. We’ve been together for 5 years and he’s been perfecting his hydration ratios and technique for almost as long. There’s about 24783748374983275983658937489374019274 reasons why I love Reuben, but his pizza ranks at about #3. I just had a slice of it cold out of the fridge and it’s still better than anything I can get on the West Coast.

One day, I hope we can open up a Pizza/Dumpling/Bakery/Beer Hall + Coffeeshop place. It would essentially be serving all the foods we eat in our regular day lives, but YOU would be able to have some too! Reuben would be slinging the best pizza in the universe and pouring you a taste of some ultra rare sour beer brewed with heirloom peaches that he’s been aging for the last 10 years. I would be bopping around the shop decorating cakes and pleating dumplings. We would both be constantly covered in flour, but so happy. Doesn’t that just sound like the most carb heavy dream ever? Ugh. ONE DAY.

Until then, I’m just going to be over here in my tiny kitchen perfecting all my dough recipes and pleating skills. These Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns would most definitely be on the menu! I would grab 1 or 2 in the morning with a coconut milk matcha latte and be set for the day! I actually stop at the dim sum shop around the corner from our apartment about 1 once a week for breakfast. I get 1 order of har gow and 1 order of pork siu mai to go. I can typically eat all 6 dumplings within the time it takes me to walk to the bus stop. Have I ever told you that I LOVE to walk and eat? It’s weird and I can’t explain why I enjoy it so much. Anyways! One morning I decided to mix it up a bit and get an order of har gow plus just 1 steamed chicken bun. I just want to say that I LOVE Good Luck Dim Sum. It’s my favorite dim sum in San Francisco. But this chicken bun was real bad. The dough was fine - fluffy and slightly sweet. The filling was horrible. The texture was way too tough and not tender or juicy at all. I took one bite and was super disappointed the remainder of my walk to the bus. I really dislike bad food… as most people would be. But after I eat something like that, it’s hard for me to shake off the feeling of “I can make this better!”

After that unfortunate morning, I was set on making the best chicken bun I could! I think I’m pretty close with this one. As soon as they were cool enough to eat without burning my entire mouth, I ate about 3 of them without even blinking. They are so good, so fluffy, so tender, and so springy! The leeks add a touch of springtime freshness that I’m so ready for more of! The filling is light but tender and juicy. I learned a little trick from my friend, Paul, for making a super soft and tender ground chicken filling… melk! I mean milk. Sorry, I’m from Ohio, where we say melk. The addition of a little bit of milk works some magic on what would typically be pretty dry and lean ground chicken. The richness from the milk also adds a bit of fat and richness that siu mai typically gets from pork. If you live a dairy free life, you can just replace the milk with water instead.

I’m sure in the future I’ll continue to develop a lot more chicken buns recipes. BBQ Chicken Buns. Teriyaki Chicken Buns. Five Spice Chicken Buns. All the chicken buns. But for now, these are my favorite chicken buns in all the land! I can’t stop thinking about reheating the ones I’ve safely packed away in our freezer for a rainy day. Ah! I think it’s going to rain tomorrow…


Chicken and Leek Steamed Buns

makes 12 steamed buns

dough recipe adapted from Red House Spice’s excellent bao guide!

bun dough:

250g (~1 3/4 cups) AP flour
50g (~1/3cup) cornstarch
2tsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1 cup warm water + 1/4 cup more if dough is dry

filling:

1 leek
3 cloves minced garlic
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp cornstarch


make dough:

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, and instant yeast in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Give it a quick mix to evenly incorporate everything. Begin to stir on medium speed. Slowly pour in 1 cup warm water and continue to knead for 8 minutes. Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead for another 5 minutes until you get a smooth ball. If the dough feels a little too dry during the hand kneading process add a little bit more water, no more than an extra 1/4 cup. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow dough to rest in a warm place for 1 hour to 1.5 hours until doubled in size.

  2. While the dough is resting, prepare your filling. Peel the tough outer layers of the leek. Cut off the top green portion of the leek and discard. Slice the leek in half lengthwise and then thinly slice each half. Quickly run the thinly sliced leeks under water to rinse off any dirty or sand. Dry off with a paper towel and set aside.

  3. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add in garlic and leeks. Sauté for 5-7 mins until aromatic and slightly golden around the edges. Remove garlic and leeks from the pan and place in a large bowl.

  4. Add chicken to the bowl of garlic and leeks. Add in salt, white pepper, oyster sauce, soy sauce, milk, and cornstarch to the bowl. Give it a good mix with chopsticks or a wooden spoon until just combined. Set aside and let the flavors develop for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 day covered in the fridge.

  5. To form the buns, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll out each portion of dough into a 4” diameter circle. Place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of the wrapper and pleat close, or pinch close if you wish. Place formed buns on a baking tray dusted with flour and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow to rest for another 30 minutes.

  6. Set up a bamboo steamer over a wok or pot filled with boiling water. Steam for 15 minutes. Allow for buns to cool and then enjoy with soy sauce, chili oil, or plain!

notes:

  1. Steamed buns can be frozen after they have been fully cooked. You can either reheat in the microwave by microwaving for 3 minutes while wrapped in a damp paper towel, or steamed in a bamboo steamer for 12-15 minutes.

  2. Milk can be swapped out for water if you prefer a dairy free option.

Spring Chicken Siu Mai

Spring Chicken Siu Mai
Spring Chicken Siu Main
Spring Chicken Siu Mai
Spring Chicken Siu Mai
Spring Chicken Siu Mai
Spring Chicken Siu Mai
Spring Chicken Siu Mai
Spring Chicken Siu Mai
Spring Chicken Siu Mai

Ah, it feels good to be home : ) Reuben and I just got back from 9 wonderful days on the East Coast! We danced around, ate, and celebrated love with some of my best friends in New York City. Then we got some quality time in with his parents in cute little Roosevelt, New Jersey. His mom made us brownies and this incredible chorizo, chickpea, and cod stew that I'm still dreaming about. Triple C! I also developed an addiction to these coconut and seedy cluster things they kept at the house. I'm still dreaming about them and trying to find the time to recreate them myself. THEY ARE SO GOOD. At the tail end of our trip we spent the last weekend in Philadelphia. It was MUGGY. I forgot what that type of weather felt like. It was so hot and wet, the second you went outside your skin was instantly damp. Living in San Francisco has made us wimps. We live in a bubble of constant 65 degree weather and any temperature slightly above or below that is either hot as balls or cold as tits. Is cold as tits a saying??? I caught myself telling someone in Philadelphia how we don't eat outside in San Francisco because it gets down to 55 degrees at night and it's freezing. I realized I sounded like an idiot. My inner midwesterner was embarrassed.

Despite the muggy weather in Philadelphia, I absolutely loved it there. Reuben and I have been wanting to make a trip out there to see if we could potentially move there. I think the answer is yes, definitely yes. The food was so great! We ate at 2 Michael Solomonov restaurants, Dizengoff and Abe Fischer. Insanely good! We would have made it 3 if I didn't feel like a meatball the whole time and had some actual stomach room to grab a donut at Federal Donuts... next time! Center City was super cute and charming. Super walkable too! I was worried that Philadelphia would be missing all the Asian food we're spoiled with by living in San Francisco, but then 1 block from our Airbnb was a ramen place that made brisket ramen with kimchi and a matzo ball and all my worries disappeared. It's hard to compare any city to San Francisco, but I think Philadelphia has all the amenities and culture points we need, but just a lot cheaper and a little more charming with all the cute old neighborhoods. Downtown Philadelphia is also not nearly as poopy as Downtown San Francisco... ugh, gross. If/when we move there I'll just have to buy a bunch of loose summer dresses and shorts to help acclimate to the weather. 

Since we've been living in the Inner Richmond, which is the Asian food mecca of San Francisco, I've developed this irrational fear of not having access to great Asian food whenever we move. We just have the best Thai, Burmese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese restaurants within 4 blocks of our apartment. But the day that we move will come, and I will be prepared to make my favorite dishes!  I'll probably never be able to recreate the magic that happens in the kitchen of Good Luck Dim Sum, but I'm feeling pretty confident that my dumpling making skills will satisfy my cravings. These Spring Chicken Siu Mai were inspired by all the beautiful spring produce popping up at our farmers market. I love this season so much! It's almost as great as late summer, when all the tomatos and stone fruit taste like candy. The chicken siu mai are a lot lighter and maybe slightly healthier than the traditional pork and shrimp or beef fillings. Once it's all steamed together it tastes super fresh and sort of like all the best parts of your spring garden rolled up into a little dumpling. Bonus points for it being super easy to assemble too. No fancy pleats or pinching necessary!


Spring Chicken Siu Mai

makes 36 dumplings

Materials:

1 lb ground chicken (turkey works too)
1/3 cup fresh peas
1/3 cup diced carrots (same size as peas)
2 spring/green onion stocks - whites and greens thinly chopped
1 egg
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
36 round wonton wrappers
extra peas and carrots for garnish

Steps:

1. Combine ground chicken, peas, carrots, spring onions, egg, cornstarch, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, and white pepper in a bowl. Gently mix together with your hands or a rubber spatula until evenly combined, avoid over mixing. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marinate.

2. Place a heaping tablespoon (about 1.5 tablespoons) of filling in the center of your wonton wrapper. Fold up the side of the wrapper, but leave the top of the dumpling open. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Cover prepared dumplings with a kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out. Top each dumpling with either a pea or a cube of carrot for garnish.

3. Boil water in a pot and place a bamboo steamer (the same diameter as the pot) on top. Line the bamboo steamer with cabbage or a parchment paper disk with perforated holes. Arrange dumplings in the steamer, cover, and steam for 7-8 minutes.

4. Remove dumplings from the steamer and enjoy by dipping into some dark soy sauce.

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Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake

Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake
Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake

GUYS. I got the craziest email the other day. I had a pretty hectic day and didn't check my personal email until right before heading to bed. As I was scrolling through I saw the subject line: Great American Baking Show. OMG. What?!!!!! I read the email and it was a casting person saying that they found me through Instagram and wanted to speak to me about possibly auditioning for the show. OMGOMGOMGOMG WHAT IS HAPPENING? At first I thought it was fake. Like it has to be fake. But after getting many second opinions I'm convinced that it is legit. I spent the next 30 minutes dancing around my apartment and annoying the crap out of Reuben before bed. I'm easily excitable. I went straight to imagining baking in the tent and Mary Berry telling me that she finds my biscuits delightful! What a dream! 

But then reality set in and I realized that I'm not really a baker. lol. Well I would never claim to be a baker. I love cake. And I love playing with butter and sugar. But technical and precise are not words that describe me. I would feel much more comfortable being on Chopped. I've watched The Great British Bake Off (mainly while at the gym) and those people are so talented! I can't handle it. How do they just know how to do everything??! Is there another side of the show where the contestants practice a single recipe over and over again in between filming? Do they have the recipes printed out somewhere? Or have they memorized everything? These questions give me anxiety. I also realized that I am the least competitive person EVER. I was that kid in dodge ball that tried to get out early so I didn't have to play or god forbid be the last person standing and have to face off against someone like Reuben, who lives for competitive sports. Ugh, that scenario also gives me anxiety. I asked him about this once and he said he wouldn't even think twice about striking me hard with a dodgeball. That's true love, folks. 

I told my Mom about the email and she just laughed for a solid minute. It's really not THAT hilarious mom.... : )

99% of me is telling me that this is a horrible idea. I'm extremely under-qualified. I don't know how to make meraingue, which I feel like is critical. I mean, I haven't even called the woman back. And it's not like they're straight up asking me to compete. And they probably emailed like a million people... did you get this email too?? Despite all of that, one teeny tiny part of me really wants to just commit to getting on this show. Like, maybe I can fake it until I make it? Or something... who knows! I'll keep you update if this progresses any further than this email.

If there was a crepe cake challenge, I feel pretty confident I would at least survive that week! If you're looking to make a 20 layer cake, this is definitely the way to go. Then if you make it a mini cake, it's really not as intimidating. On Sunday afternoon, I put on the "French Bistro" spotify playlist, pretended I was in Ratatouille, and flipped a bunch of mini crepes. Then I layered the crepes with sweet fluffly whipped cream and tangy rhubarb compote. Rhubarb should be allowed to be the leading actor in more recipes. It really doesn't need strawberries to make a dessert sing. The rhubarb compote is also insanely easy to make. I highly recommend that you double the recipe and save some for fancy yogurt bowls or toast! This Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake is probably the most springy thing I've ever made! It's so cute!


Mini Rhubarb Crepe Cake

makes one 6" crepe cake

crepes:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 cups of milk
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup water
butter or oil for cooking

rhubarb compote:
1/2 pound of rhubarb (about 5 stalks)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp of orange liqueur (optional)

whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp of beet powdered for color (optional)

steps:

Prepare your batter first. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together eggs, milk, oil and water in another bowl. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until there are no more lumps. Let the batter rest in the fridge for an hour while you prepare your fillings.

Trim and cut your rhubarb into 1/2" pieces. Toss chopped rhubarb with sugar in a small bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted add in chopped rhubarb and sugar. Allow to cook undisturbed for 2 minutes, then give it a stir and cook for another 10 minutes until soft and jammy. Take a potato masher and gently mash the rhubarb compote until semi smooth. Remove from heat and place compote in a heat proof container and allow to full cool.

Pour cream, sugar, and beet powder into a large bowl. Whip with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare your crepes. Beet powder was just for color. If you don't have beet powder, you food coloring or not color at all.

Heat an 6"-8" nonstick frying pan, lightly greased with butter or oil, over medium heat. Pour in a little less than 1/4 cup of batter and swirl to cover the whole pan. Allow to cook for 15-20 seconds, until the edge get slightly brown and crisp. flip and cook for another 15 seconds. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a baking sheet or wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. You should get around 23-25 crepes. You'll need about 20 layers so there's wiggly room for a few crepe flops or snacks.

Allow all the crepes to completely cool before assembling. Place one crepe on a platter. Layer on 2 tbsp of whipped cream. Place on another crepe and layer on a tablespoon of compote. Repeat crepe layers with alternating fillings of whipped cream and compote. Top the cake with one last layer of whipped cream and some peels of raw rhubarb if you have extra.

Serve and enjoy! I recommend placing the cake in the fridge or the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to cut!

 

Strawberry Basil Glazed Donuts

Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
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Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
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Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts

Hello from Chicago! Well, by the time you read this I will be a zombie trying to make it through the day in San Francisco. I'm currently incredibly full from dinner, curled up in my hotel bed and watching TLC. It's awesome. I'm in Chicago for a couple days for work, so I've been spending my days in a stuffy construction site getting all dusty and punching things. I'm not literally punching things! One of the very last steps of an architecture/interior design project is completing the punch walk, which is when you walk through the entire project noting every little and big thing that needs to be fixed or adjusted. Punching! It's sort of fun but also really exhausting. I would equate it to museum exhaustion. You know, that mental and physical tiredness from slowly sauntering and reading every artist placard. 

After a day of punching, we headed over to Avec for dinner and it was amazing! They had this avocado and sweet potato salad with a garlic dressing and za'atar that I need to recreate the second I'm finally home for an extended period of time and can actually cook again! Gosh, I miss my tiny zero counter space kitchen. I miss making myself matchas in the morning, spending too much time fixing myself a pretty bowl of yogurt, and VEGETABLES. Gosh, I need vegetables. I was also in Cleveland this weekend for some quality family time, which is typically a marathon eating session. So I'm just v v v v v full and am in desperate need of vegetables. Despite the constant discomfort of being full, I do love trying all these new dishes from eating out and getting inspired to create new things in my own kitchen. The notepad in my phone that lists all my random recipe ideas is getting real good and real exciting.

These Strawberry Basil Donuts are actually inspired by the Blueberry Basil Bourdon Donuts from Blue Star Donuts in Portland. They are one of the many things I ate in Portland and said to myself, "oh man, I gotta steal this idea!" 😛 I loved the natural sweetness and tartness from the berries and the herbaceousness (that's a word I think) from the basil. It was a flavor combo I don't encounter often in the dessert world. Instead of blueberries I used strawberries because it's strawberry season in California and the the farmer's market is bursting with them! The strawberries also make a really lovely pale pink glaze that I feel like is very on trend right now if color trends are your thing. I'm also participating in my very first internet food blogger party thing! A bunch of other fellow food bloggers created incredible strawberry inspired recipes! If you're interested in checking them out, here are the links to them all below! Also check out #strawberriesarethejam for some drool worthy content!

Square Meal Round Table’s Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Pavlova
The Cooking of Joy’s Strawberry Matcha Cream Cheese Tart
This Healthy Table’s Strawberry Tahini Shortcake
Flours in Your Hair’s Strawberry Milk Donuts
The Wood and Spoon’s Strawberry Icebox Pie
Smart in the Kitchen’s Rustic Strawberry Galette
The Herb and Spoon’s Strawberry-Jam Filled Brioche Donuts
Better with Biscuit’s Straw "berry" Cobbler  
My Kitchen Love’s Strawberry Rhubarb Tart
Sift and Simmer’s Rose Strawberry Hibiscus Mille Crepe Cake
What Great Grandma Ate’s No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bars (Paleo, Vegan)
A Modest Feast’s Greek Yogurt With Crispy Quinoa and Roasted Strawberries
Hola Jalapeno’s Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita
Worthy Pause’s Strawberry-Basil Shrub Cocktail
Hot Dishing It Out’s Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jelly
Figs & Flour’s Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Apricot Salsa
Pie Girl Bakes’ Strawberry Ginger Pie
Crumb Top Baking’s Strawberry Chia Jam Oat Bars
The Gourmandise School’s Strawberry Pistachio Salad
Tiny Kitchen Caper’s Strawberries and Cream Pound Cake
Cook Til Delicious’ Mini Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Ganache
Something New For Dinner’s Watermelon, Tomato and Strawberry Salad with Burrata
A Spicy Perspective’s Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
Easy and Delish’s Strawberry Brigadeiros
Plays Well with Butter’s Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Grilled Chicken, & Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Katherine in Brooklyn’s Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream
Sugar Salt Magic’s Strawberry Mousse Tart
The Healthy Sins’ Coconut Flour Crepes Topped with Fresh Strawberries and Coconut Yogurt
Lemon Thyme and Ginger’s Strawberry Basil No Churn Ice Cream
Jessie Sheehan Bakes’ Strawberry Basil Turnovers
Bavette Meat & Provisions’ Pickled Green Strawberries


Strawberry Basil Glazed Donuts

makes 12

dough:

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup sugar + a pinch for yeast mixture
1 tsp salt

2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying

glaze:

1/3 cup strawberries - hulled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped basil
2 cups confectioner's sugar + more
3 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt

steps:

1. Combine yeast, warm water, a pinch of sugar in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. You should start to see small bubbles on the surface.

2. In the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add in yeast mixture, eggs, and oil. Stir the dough on medium low speed for 7 minutes until smooth.

3. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to proof in a warm place for 2 hours. After proofing, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/2" thick use a 2.5" to 3" diameter biscuit cutter to cut our your donuts. Re-roll your dough scrapes to make additional donuts. Use your index finger to gently press a hole out of the center. Pull the whole part with your hands to stretch out the donut. Place on a parchment paper lines baking tray. Repeat with remaining donuts. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to proof for another 30 minutes.

4. Fill a heavy bottom pot with vegetable oil. I used about 5 cups of oil for my dutch oven. Heat over medium high heat until it reaches 350 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer you can test the oil with a scrap of dough. It should sizzle immediately, brown gradually, and not cook too fast. If it browns too fast the oil is too hot. Fry your donuts in batches for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a wire rack to cool.

5. To prepare your glaze, puree strawberries and basil in a food processor or immersion blender until smooth. Place in a small pot or sauce pan and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes until it has reduced. Place strawberry basil reduction in a small bowl and allow to cool. Gradually mix in confectioner's sugar until smooth. Whisk in milk. Add a little more sugar or milk to reach desired consistency.

6. Dunk a cooled donut into the glaze and allow the glaze to set on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining donuts.

7. Enjoy!

Fried Chicken Bao Sliders

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Hello hello hello! I'm back from a long weekend in the desert! It was full of best friends, a fur cladded pool, lots of sun, and a prickly cactus that got stuck in my shoe. I just downloaded my photos and will work on a little Joshua Tree post to share with you guys soon! I'm back home in chilly San Francisco burrito-ed up in my blanket trying to fend off icky germs from flying. I have 5 more flights to take over the next 2 weeks, so I'll be chugging emergen-c and ginger shots for the near future.

Let me see... what is there to update you on??

1. Reuben and I watched The Office in it's entirety in just 5 weeks. Is that insane or impressive? Both? The Office was something I just never got into before, but now it is my favorite show of all time. It's the most perfect show. It's hilarious, it's offensive, it's real, and it's so incredibly sweet. Gosh. I just tear up thinking about how much Jim and Pam love each other. After we watched the last episode it was weird... like, what is there even to watch now?

2. Reuben got me hooked on the latest season of American Idol. So we quickly found something new to obsesses over. The production value of this season is so impressive! Lionel Richie is such a pleasant person! Plus there are countless touching contestant stories, so I still have something to keep me crying every other day. Not that that is hard.

3. Our apartment is going to be the home to a banjo soon. Our neighbors are going to love us.

4. I'm a confident bao maker now. The first time I ever steamed bao dough it was not good. It was bad. They had a weird flavor and didn't really fluff up. Who knows what happened. But after some practice, I got it down!

These fried chicken sliders were inspired by a recent trip to Chick-Fil-A (lol) and a fancy dinner at Liholiho Yacht Club. Just like The Office, I never really got into the hype of Chick-Fil-A. But there is one right by one of my projects, so after some really stressful days it was the perfect eat my feelings pit stop. The bao sliders at Liholiho Yacht Club are filled with grilled beef tongue, peanuts, pickled cucumbers, and some spicy sauce. Their buns are also crusted with poppy seeds, which adds a nice texture but also an awful mess to clean up later. You have been warned that if you go the poppy seed route, you're going to be finding poppy seeds everywhere for the next 3 days. So I guess you could say these sliders are a Chick-Fil-A and Liholiho Yacht Club lovechild!

To make these sliders, you can purchase your own buns at your local asian market or bakery. But I really do love a freshly steamed bun! The buns are super light and fluffy, but have the integrity and structure to support a crispy slice of fried chicken. I highly recommend that you add some kimchi, slice cucumbers, hoisin, and Sriracha for that crunchy, sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy thang. SO GOOD. How do I get in contact with Chick-Fil-A product development reps?!

Have a happy rest of the week! I'll be reporting back after a quick trip to Cleveland and Chicago this weekend : )


Fried Chicken Bao Sliders

makes 12 bao sliders

steamed bao buns:

1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
oil for brushing
Poppy Seeds (optional)

fried chicken:

2 large chicken breast cut into 12 large strips
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of paprika
dash of garlic powder
1/8 tsp baking powder
canola oil for frying

kimchi
sliced cucumbers
hoisin sauce
Sriracha
 

to prepare steamed bao dough:

1. Mix yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. You should see a few small bubbles. Whisk in oil and set aside.

2. Combine baking powder, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Create a well in the middle of the flour and slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or with you hands. Keep stirring until you have a ragged dough. Add a few teaspoons of water if the dough still feels a little dry. Gather your dough into a rough ball on a clean work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic.

3. Grease a large bowl with a bit of oil. Place dough ball in the bowl and over with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place (in the oven with the door left ajar) to proof for one hour. Dough should double.

4. Punch down the dough. Place on a clean work surface and shape into 4"x12" log. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Take one piece of dough and roll into a 4"x6" oval. Place oval on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover the tray with a wet kitchen towel and allow to proof again for another 30 minutes. While these proof again, cut out 12 4"x3" sheets of parchment paper

5. Bring a lot pot (that perfectly fits your bamboo steamer) of water to a boil. 

6. Lightly brush each piece of dough with oil. Fold in half. Brush the top with oil and press into a plate of poppy seeds. Place the bun on a sheet of parchment and then place into a bamboo steamer. Repeat with remaining buns.

7. Place the bamboo steamer on top of the pot of boiling water and steam for 10 minutes. Once steamed, remove from the steamer and allow to cool on a wire rack.

to prepare the fried chicken:

1. Marinade the chicken in buttermilk for 30 minutes.

2. Beat eggs in a small bowl and combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and baking powder in a shallow dish.

3. Dip slice of chicken in flour, then in the egg, and then back into the flour. Place on a dish and repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Add canola oil into a heavy bottom skillet until hot (350 degrees). Add in chicken and fry for 5 to 7 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Repeat with remaining chicken.

to assemble the bao sliders:

1. Place a piece of fried chicken in a bun, smear on hoisin and Sriracha, add a bit of kimchi and sliced cucumbers, and enjoy!