Monday, December 17, 2012

Baked Char xiu Bao (Bánh bao nướng nhân xá xíu)

We love dim sum—good thing we live near Chinatown, only 3 train stops away. If you’re familiar with dim sum, you know how delicious Chinese pork buns are. They can be steamed or baked, but we love the baked version (baked char xiu bao). They’re soft, tender, juicy and slightly sweet. The filling is made of char xiu (Chinese barbeque pork), shallots, onions and seasoned with oyster sauce and sesame oil. It’s sweet and savory with intense pork flavors .

I never made baked char xiu bao before but it turned out so good and David ate 5. So yummy!

Below is the recipe for you to try.

For the bread/bao dough
1 cup milk
3 tbsp lukewarm water
2 teaspoons dried active yeast  (or rapid yeast)
1,5 tbsp oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 & ¼ cup bread flour
½ cup APP flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
3 tbsp melted butter, cooled

For the filling
1 teaspoon canola oil
2-3 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch pepper
5 tablespoons ready-made chicken stock (Optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon potato starch or Corn starch
1 cup chopped char siu

Dissolve 1 tsp sugar and instant dry yeast in warm water. Mix gently and let stand for 10 minutes.

Put the flour in a mixing bowl. Add oil, half of the beaten egg, milk and yeast water. Mix to form a rough dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work area then knead until smooth and elastic or mix the dough until it comes together using the dough hook attachment, about 5 minutes. Continue to knead on medium-low speed for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is elastic.

Put the dough in the greased large bowl. Cover with cling film. Let it rest about 1 hour in a oven or until double in size.

While the dough is rising, you can make the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, pepper, chicken stock, sesame oil, and corn starch until smooth.

Place a wok over high heat. Add oil and garlic, shallots & onion. Stir-fry for about 3minutes or until fragrant.

Add the char xiu and the sauce mix. Stir constantly until the sauce thickened and transfer to a bowl. Let it cool.

Take the dough out from the oven. Punch down the dough and roll into a long shape. Divide the dough into 12 rounds pieces.

Put a tsbp of the filling in the center of the dough. Gather up the edges to enclose the bbq pork filling. Pinch to seal and twist it together. Put the bun upside down on the parchment paper square. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Place the buns about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Let it rest for 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoon of melted butter and half of the remaining beaten egg yolk. Brush the bun with egg mixture.
Bake the bun for about 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chicken liver pate (Pate gan gà)

Chicken liver is a strange subject. You either love it or you don't. I love it, my husband doesn't. He always tells me the reasons why he does not eat liver but I am an adventurous eater and I just simply love it. When you make the pate from chicken liver, it's delicious and tasty. It contains a lot of the B vitamins, vitamin A, Iron, Protein and minerals, and it helps you meet your essential nutrient needs. However chicken liver is also high in cholesterol, heavy metals and other contaminants, so you should not eat it often ;)

The inspiration for this post comes from my friends. Last week, one of my friends sent me 30 loaves of bread from Uyen Thy Bistro in California. Another friend sent me the recipe to make pate from Braunschweiger, but it's made from ground pork, pork liver and bacon and is high in nitrates. But I just love chicken liver pate because it's mild and creamy so I came up with the idea to make my own to eat with bread along with homemade Vietnamese ham 

The chicken liver pate is inexpensive and simple to make. You can buy organic chicken liver from Whole foods grass fed, without antibiotics and you're good to go.

Below is my recipe for you to try:
Make 4 small individual ramekins 


  • 1 pound fresh chicken livers, cleaned
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup half & half
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy (cooking wine or Marsala or Amaretto) 


In a bowl, soak the livers in the milk for 2 hours. Drain well.
In a large saute pan, melt 1/2 stick of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken livers, the bay leaves, salt, chicken powder, sugar and pepper and cook, stirring, until the livers are browned on the outside and still slightly pink on the inside, about 5 minutes. Add half of the Cognac or wine and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated and the livers are cooked through but still tender.
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Discard the bay leaves.
In a food processor, puree the liver mixture. Add the remaining butter in pieces, the rest of the Cognac, 1/4 cup half & half and pulse to blend and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Pack the pate into 4 individual ramekins, about 4 ounces each. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 5 hours.