Sunday, June 23, 2013

Char Siu Bao

Veggie char siu bao of course! Whenever my family and I visit London we always visit an amazing Chinese restaurant that serves the most incredible food, sadly most of which isn't vegetarian. Their tofu and vegetable dishes are amazing though so I can't really complain. However, their char siu bao do look so good and I do get a hint of jealousy when I see my family tucking into beautiful pillowy pork buns. But I don't have to feel that way any more, oh no! I can make them my char siu buns..yey!

You start off with a pretty standard yeast dough (flour, yeast, salt, sugar, water) and add baking powder to the mix. While leaving the dough to rise for an hour you make the filling. Char siu bao are usually made with slow roasted pork combined with char siu sauce, but for mine I used mushrooms, spring onions, garlic and ginger. I have to admit that I didn't make my own char siu sauce, but when you can buy such good ones from Asian markets it's ok to cheat a little.

After the dough has risen, knock it back and separate into small balls before stretching it out into a disc. I only made a small amount of dough so I divided it into 4, but I could have easily made 6. I then added about a teaspoon of the filling into the centre of the disc and bring all the edges together and twist the top into a peak (I'm definitely lacking practice at this). Place them into a bamboo steamer over a pot of boiling water and leave to steam for 10-15 mins.

By the magic of steam they rose up and became giant and fluffy! With a little bit of soy sauce and chilli they were delicious. I can't wait for the next time I make these, I'm thinking a huge dim sum spread with all the trimmings, watch this space!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Asparagus Obsession

Beautiful asparagus are bang in season this time of year, and they taste amazing!! It's been impossible to find Irish ones this year (very sad) but British ones definitely hit the spot, hopefully next year Ireland will have better weather and the growers will have more luck.

I love keeping asparagus dishes really simple. I just wash them, throw them on a hot griddle pan for a few minutes until they soften a little and have a few char marks (on a BBQ is the best way to do these), then drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil, freshly grated lemon zest, salt and pepper. And that's it! I love them a little tender but still crunchy and holding their shape. So if you love asparagus like me, enjoy them while you can as they'll be going out of season very soon and we'll have to wait until next year to get them again!