Shao Bao - Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns

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We spent a day with Nic's grandmother a few weeks ago to learn how to make those delectable dim sum treats: steamed barbecue pork buns!

We made a smaller batch that turned out pretty close to the original.

  • 700 grams white unbleached all-purpose flour (Canadian all-purpose, mind you)
  • 60 grams margarine (unsalted)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (quick-rise)
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • Filling! We fried up some ground pork with soy sauce, oyster sauce, onions, garlic, and a tin of tomato paste. Not the same as grandma makes it (unless your grandma is Italian), but still awfully tasty in a steamed bun.
Weights and Measures, Metric Conversions

Mix the flour, margarine, baking power and salt. In another container, mix the yeast and 1.5 cups of the water. Then combine everything and mix well. With 1.5 cups of water, it will be too dry, so add more water until you get the right consistency. If it ends up too wet and sticky, just add a bit more flour (at most 1/8c at a time; it doesn't take much!). The dough should be soft and pliable, but not get stuck to your hands. The amount of flour versus water will vary every time you make it, depending on the moisture content of the flour and the relative humidity of the day.

Pull off balls of dough about halfway between golf ball and raquet ball size, and flatten into a pizza crust shape. Dollop a LARGE gob of filling into the middle. Then go around the edge, pulling the dough together gradually to form a cup, and then a ball around the filling. Place on squares of wax or parchment paper, keeping damp cloth on the top to keep them from drying out. When they're all ready, space them out nicely in a steamer. Ours were a bit too close, but we had 2 extra buns, so squeezed them all in anyway. Steam over boiling water for 20 minutes. Be careful when you take them out, as they're quite hot.

Enjoy steamed barbecue bun goodness!

We can has tomatoes!

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Green Tomatoes
Tomato Stalk

Mostly green ones, actually. Does anyone have some good recipes?

Along with harvesting all the tomatoes, I removed all the plants, since it was a nice warm weekend, and I didn't feel I would be as interested in doing cleanup on a cold windy day! Quite the stalk on this one, eh?

The tomatoes grew a good 10ft in the air, up through the apple tree. Just insane. I only wish they'd gotten more warm sunlight and ripened properly. Most of the ripe tomatoes quickly split down the side and rotted before I could harvest them.

The new toilet

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After trying for 15 minutes to remove the old bolt with the Dremel rotary tool, Nic proclaimed that we would purchase a new toilet. Then there was how whole-heartedly I agreed!

The new toilet

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