These braised short ribs bao buns have a nice combination of flavor and texture. Sweet, salty, and tender braised short rib beef sandwiched in a light steamed bun, topped with fresh herbs and cucumber.
Beef short ribs are a truly fantastic cut of meat. You can serve them with the bone it or bone out, either way, they still taste delicious. Choose the ribs with more marbling, because as marbled fat melts, it will meld beautifully with the spices and saltiness of soy sauce to create a sweet, salty, and addictive dish.
You can store the cooked buns in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to a few months. Reheat frozen buns in a steamer for 3 minutes, or until soft, and warmed all the way through.
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Braised Short Ribs Bao Buns
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- a handful of cilantro or mint leaves
- 2 red chilies, sliced into thin strips, to serve
for the ribs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 500 grams short ribs
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 cilantro roots
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sweet soy sauce
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 1 small bulb garlic, unpeeled, split in half
- 1 Chen pi (dried mandarin peel)
- sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 450g all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7g instant dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon milk powder
- 200 ml of warm water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Season the ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, work in batches if necessary.
- Remove the ribs from the pot, then deglaze the pot with Shaoxing wine. Scrape up the browned bits stuck to the pot with a spatula. Then add ginger, cilantro roots, light soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, cinnamon, star anise, garlic, and mandarin peel. Put back ribs in the pot and top up with water. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours until short ribs are tender, stirring occasionally. You may add more water during cooking if the liquid evaporated too much. Adjust seasoning if needed.
for the bao buns
- In the meantime, make the bao buns. Place flour, milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the vegetable oil and water. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in the liquid slowly. Mix with a chopstick, then use your hands to knead the dough until comes together. Dust the work surface lightly with flour, and knead the dough for 10 minutes or until smooth. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, and cover the bowl with a dry kitchen towel. Put it in a warm place and let rise until dough doubles in size, about 60 to 90 minutes.
- Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Using a knife divide the dough into 10-12 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Flatten one ball with hands, then roll it out with a rolling pin into a 12cm-long oval, brush lightly with vegetable oil, then fold the oval over to form the bun shape, and put a bun on a square of parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the folded bun with a dry kitchen towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Set up a steamer on the stove. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the steamer, steam the buns for 10 minutes over high heat. Remove the parchment.
to serve the buns
- Remove ribs from the sauce, cool to room temperature. When cooled slice the beef into bite-size pieces.
- Open up bao bun. Place in cilantro or mint leaves, cucumber, and chilies. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.