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50g water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
5 sprigs of coriander- finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped , reserving 1 for bao dough
200g lean beef mince
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp cumin seeds
½ tbsp chiu chow chilli oil
1 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tbsp sugar
¼ tbsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
The Dry Mix
530g spelt flour
½ tsp salt
7g fast action dried yeast
40g caster sugar
15g baking powder
200g–250g warm water (depending on how humid your room feels — if the air feels very dry you'll want to add a little more water, but if it is very humid, a little less water is required)
25g vegetable or sunflower oil
Finely chop the water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, coriander and 2 out of the 3 spring onions and place in a large mixing bowl. Next add the minced beef and egg yolk to the mix and stir together well. In a pan over a medium high heat, toast your cumin seeds until fragrant (30 seconds–1 minute) before tipping into a mortar and gently crushing using a pestle. Once crushed, add the seeds along with the other ‘Marinade’ ingredients into the filling mix, and stir to combine well.
Using a free-standing mixer with a dough hook attachment (if available), pour in the measured out 'Dry Mix' ingredients.
Mix 'The Liquid' ingredients together into a measuring jug. Then slowly pour the liquid into the mixer while kneading on a low speed for around 2 minutes until all the water is mixed into the flour. Once combined, turn the speed up to high speed for a further 2 minutes until the dough has a smooth-yet-tacky feel to it.
Once the dough has been well kneaded, dust with 2 tbsp of flour, scraping off any additional dough on the sides of the bowl. Shape the dough into a rough ball, and then coat lightly with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave aside in a warm, preferably moist, draft free location (like inside a room temperature oven) for 1–1.5 hours.
Once the dough has doubled in size, place the dough onto a well-floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, start to roll it out until it is approx. ½ cm in thickness. Finely chop the last spring onion and scatter the pieces over the freshly rolled out dough. Using a cookie cutter (or the lip of a glass if necessary) approx. 7cm in diameter, cut the dough into as many pieces as possible. Then follow the instructions below to construct and fill your bao:
Fill a wok ⅓– ½ way with boiling water. Line 2 bamboo steam baskets with dim sum steam paper or pierced greaseproof paper. Brush the paper with a little vegetable oil and then place the prepared baos into the steam baskets, twisted side down (to prevent any loose ends from opening up). Cover the baskets with a lid and steam on high for 8 minutes, resisting the temptation to open the lid at all during this time.