Cooking today is all about authenticity. With the world shrinking and previously rare ingredients now more widely available, even casual chefs are choosing to visit exotic locales via their kitchens. As for Chinese cuisine, that means that a can of chow mein and a fortune cookie just won’t cut it anymore. You’ve got to go native, and Happy Valley News is here to help with the first in an ongoing series: “Guide to Authentic Chinese Cooking, Classic Recipes from the Middle Kingdom.”
Our first recipe is that staple of the Chinese diet, the steamed pork bun. For this particular recipe, I’ve chosen the variety of bun served by food carts right in the heart of Beijing’s Chaoyang District. It’s a simple recipe, using common ingredients readily available from any Asian food store and decent industrial chemical distributor. Enjoy!
Steamed ‘Pork’ Buns (char siu bao)
unbleached white flour
Soak the cardboard in water until soft
Gradually add the caustic soda and agitate until the cardboard breaks apart, loses its color, and begins to vaguely resemble cooked pork
Using a strainer, separate the cardboard fiber from the liquid, mix fiber with lard to add authentic pork flavor, and set aside to coagulate.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and lard
Add 2/3 cup warm water and knead until smooth
Cover with wet towel and set aside for 30 minutes
When ready, roll out the dough and cut into 12 equal pieces
Roll each piece into a ball about the size of a fist, then flatten into a circle
Place a few spoonfuls of the ‘pork’ filling in the center of each roll and bring the sides up around it, pinching it shut to close the top.
Without crowding (it adversely affects taste), place the buns in a steamer basket and steam over rapidly boiling water for 10 minutes
Serve piping hot with dipping sauce (recipe below).
1/4 cup soy sauce
teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup antifreeze (I prefer ethylene glycol-based coolant, but others swear by propylene glycol — it’s really a matter of personal taste)
Next Week’s Authentic Chinese Recipe:
Lead-Crusted Chicken in a Melamine Reduction
Update: Dear, dear readers, please note that this post is satire, i.e., a joke, i.e., not real, i.e., please don’t cook this, because you will die. It’s a recipe for pork buns made from cardboard and topped with antifreeze, because a vendor in China was caught serving such a product. I’m sure there are many legitimate recipes for pork buns out there on the Internet, with ingredients and quantities but without the highly toxic ingredients. In fact, here’s one right here. Use that one, not this one.