Char Siu Bao, Potstickers, and a long day.

What a feat! I woke up incredibly tired, thinking I just needed more sleep, but now am wondering if I’ve started to develop my son’s cold symptoms. I was worried about ‘fitting everything in’ today, and surely enough, the dog didn’t get a lovely beach walk, nor did her ‘dog waste compost’ get built by me. Tomorrow the dog compost will happen, I’m looking forward to that – no more bagging up dog pooh or carefully walking a container of the stuff in to the toilet. Chuck it down a specially made bin built-in to the ground with some enzyme err, good bacteria promoter type stuff, and it should just waste away, literally.

We did manage to get take the kids to the movies though, and I did manage to make 50 pot stickers and 24 char siu bao. With two dipping sauces even, and jasmine tea. The movie wasn’t so spectacular; we went to Oz the Great and Powerful, it started out with me thinking this was a bearable kids movie with some pretty amazing visual effects, with a gradual decline into schmaltzy overly done girl princess crap. That’s alright, taking the kids to the movies makes me feel like a better parent so that was enough.

Char Siu Pork

Char Siu pork after roasting and before dicing.

Char Siu Bao Sauce Ingredients

Preparing ingredients for the Char Siu Bao sauce.

Char Siu Pork and Sauce

Smells Delicious!

I had managed to squeeze in assembling all 50 pot stickers (that’s how many wrappers are in the packet), and making the dough for the char siu bao. The dough was a bit of a worry, being so dry to start with I couldn’t incorporate all the flour. I kept adding warm water a little at a time with my hands while trying to knead – it was very hard, not at all like the malleable dough I expect when using yeast. After 15-20 minutes and a significant amount of water and a lot of patience, although not what I usually expect from a bread dough, it was smooth and bounced back nicely when poked. Pulling it apart I could tell the gluten strands were looking good. So I put it to rest in a nice big bowl to rise. This it did, fervently almost too. I ended up punching it down a couple of times until I was ready to use it.

Potstickers cooking

First batch of Potstickers.

Back from the movie, I had a busy time ahead. Last time I attempted something like this I was sick too – bad timing I guess, certainly not intentional. That was samosas and sesame soy chicken. The dough was happy, the dog was happy to see me, I wanted to sleep. I actually didn’t think I had much to do, but I was surprised when we sat down to eat around 8pm.

Char Siu Bao

Char Siu Bao before steaming. They grew and opened up slightly at the top.

The Bao came together nicely, I think my practice making pot stickers put me in good stead for pleating and twisting each one. I bought the bamboo steamer just so I could make them – I had thought to use it over the wok but there wouldn’t have been enough space for water, luckily it fit perfectly on top of a trusty cast iron frying pan. Even more luck, I have two of these so could cook the pot stickers at the same time. With four bao in a steamer, and two levels, I had to cook three ‘lots’. It didn’t take 10 minutes, more like 16-20mins with a change over of levels half way through to ensure they were evenly done. Being a novice with a steamer didn’t help. I made a cucumber, peanut, chili dipping sauce (sort of a sweet and sour flavour), and a simple soy based sauce with the likes of ginger, chili and rice vinegar mixed in, that was a bit salty for me really.

Dinner awaits

Hungry people waiting in the background.

Middle of dinner.

Half way through these good eats.

I’ve frozen the left over char siu bao for a lazy supper – supper? What am I talking about, we don’t do ‘supper’, it just sounded good. I’ll probably get them out sooner rather than later when Phil and I are feeling peckish one weekend afternoon when the kids are at their other parents’ houses. Remember to visit userealbutter.com for fantastic recipes like these – no, mine aren’t exactly the same, but they are pretty close and she (Jen) writes well.

Char Siu Bao

Had to share an extra one with Phil later so I could, err, take a photo.

Looking forward to sleep before the beginning of another week – and pooh hole digging on the morrow.

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