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Caroline’s Braised Eggplant Bao Buns

Story: Caroline’s Braised Eggplant Bao Buns
Episode: 1
Presenter: Caroline Taylor
Air Date: 11 April 2021

Egg plant grows so beautifully in the West Australian sun, across the whole state and easily in most backyards, this recipe celebrates that beautiful silkiness that you can get from the Aubergine.

For Steamed Bao Buns (yields 14):
360g all-purpose flour
20g skim milk powder
4g baking powder
5g instant dry yeast
35g white sugar
40ml vegetable oil and more for greasing dough
200g warm water
14 squares of baking paper (10cm x 10cm)

For Chinese braised eggplant filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
2 large eggplant, diced small
1 inch thick slice of fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pieces of star anise, whole
3 cloves, whole
1 bay leaf, whole
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½ cup Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce light soy sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of rock sugar (you can substitute regular sugar)
3 tablespoons hoisin
3 tablespoons mushroom XO (optional, available at Coles Asian section)
Salt, to taste


For Steamed Bao Buns:
Put the flour, milk powder, baking powder, yeast & sugar in a large bowl. Separately mix the veg oil and warm water. Mix wet ingredients into dry and knead. Rest until doubled. Punch down the dough, dust surface and roll to 1cm thick, grease lightly with veg oil. Cut rounds 8cm diameter. Fold rounds in half and flatten with a rolling pin slightly. Place in a steamer on paper and let prove for 30 minutes. Steam for 10-12 mins then turn off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes before removing. Can re-heat for 1 day after.

For Chinese braised eggplant filling:
In a large frypan, sauté ginger and garlic in vegetable and sesame oil for 2 minutes.
Add hoisin, Shaoxing wine, rice vinegar, star anise, cloves, bay leaf, soy sauces and sugar, bring to a low simmer. Add raw eggplant and mix around letting the juices soak in and start to get sticky. This will take around 5-8 minutes. Once at the desired level of stickiness (personal preference) take off the heat and add the mushroom XO. Serve as a filling in a steam bao or dumpling, alternatively serve on rice with a fresh tomato, coriander and red onion salsa.

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