It's always a great thing when the Mara meets a new exotic foodstuff that she feels passionate about, because that means our kitchen will be producing a pretty fucking authentic version of said foodstuff before you can say lickety-split (?...ignore me).
Which brings us to tonight's story: a few weeks ago (as documented here and here) the flaming mooperbird encountered her first ever Taiwanese bao, served up by the Bao Project ladies at a couple of different locations in our hood. And so tonight? We have our own bao.
And Jesus, fuck! This is no piddly trial run: as lovely as the Bao Project ladies' wares were, Jimmy hit the jackpot tonight. In the interest of politeness, I will say that ours are at least as good.
I shall try to adequately notate our wonderland of eating adventure, primarily so that we can make all this shitz for you next time you come over. These were all four stellar, in all probability barely-improvable, at least by me.
Here's what we hadz, in descending order of greatness (qua my taste buds), but they were within decimal points of each other on the goodness scale:
1) "Char siu" tofu with Momofuku salt/sugar cucumber pickles, toasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, cilantro. A few drops of Szechuan chili oil would also not suck I imagine.
2) Lemongrass-coconut milk chicken, toasted coconut, Momofuku pickled carrots, peanuts, sriracha, cilantro. A close second place.
3) Teriyaki salmon, salt+sugar cukes, wasabi/mayo, sesame seeds, furikake, peanuts, scallions. I liked this more than Mara did, it possibly needed a little more moisture. Possibly Momofuku's pickled mustard seeds would fix that right up.
4) BBQ tofu, pickled carrots, salt+sugar cukes.This is in 4th place for me but was still totally lekker and was Mara's fave I think.
momofuku's steamed buns, adapted.
makes 30 buns
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp active dry yeast
1 and 1/2 cups water, at room temperature
4 and 1/4 cups plain ol' flour (not self-rising)
6 tbsp white sugar
3 tbsp coffee cream (was supposed to be milk powder but toko was closed)
1 tbsp salt
rounded 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup soft butter, at room temperature (should've been lard but we don't use lard)
Combine everything, knead it a bit. Put it in an oiled bowl to rise in a warmish place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch it down and turn out onto a surface. Slice into strips, roll strips into logs, cut logs into ping-pong-ball-size shapes (this is for a smallish bao). Let them rest and rise for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the number of balls you have, cut out small pieces of parchment paper for them to steam on. When they've risen then you flatten them and roll them with a rolling pin into oval shapes. The next thing is fold them, we did do the Momofuku buttered chopstick thing, but MT is skeptical as to whether or not this is critical. In any case, after they're folded, let them rest for 30-40 minutes. DO NOT PUT THEM IN OR ON A WARM OVEN, cuz the little bao mouths fuse together.
Put them on the parchment, steam for 10 minujos.
char siu tofu.
200 grams tofu
3 tbsp mirin + 1 tbsp red wine (we were lacking proper ingredients, but this was delicious)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp grated ginger
1 garlic clove, optional
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 drop red food coloring, yes, probably made from crushed bugskulls, i know, gross.
This was perfect under our circumstances, but this could be more finely tuned probably. Was still great. Cut tofu, fry in neutral oil and a little butter, coat with sauce and brown to correct brownness. Not much of a recipe I guess.