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Bao-ritto

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This hybrid of two beautiful dishes - the fluffy bao and the slutty, spicy burrito. The filling here is inspired by a Mexican birria stew, which supposedly is served at celebrations and repurposed the next day as a hangover treat. We serve it with a refreshing, zingy jalapeño smacked cucumber salad to bring the bao back to it's Chinese roots.

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Place your onions, garlic and tomatoes on a tray, toss them in a little oil and roast for 30 mins until they are soft and starting to caramelise.
  3. Meanwhile, toast your cumin seeds and peppercorns for 1 minute in a dry, hot pan until fragrant. Tip them into a bowl, then add your ancho chillis to the pan and toast until fragrant, about 2 mins. Transfer these to a bowl, for a little hot water over them and allow them to ask until soft, about 20 mins. (If you can’t get hold of dried chillis, just add 2 fresh red chillis to your roasted vegetable mix).
  4. Once cooked, pour your roasted vegetable mixture into a blender along with your whole chillis, spices, cinnamon and vinegar, adding a little of the chilli water if you need to form a smooth paste.
  5. Season your meat with salt and put in a baking dish. Pour the blender mixture over the meat and ensure that it is all covered. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate overnight, or for a at least 4 hours.
  6. Heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/300°F. Cover your dish with foil and bake for about 4 hours, until the meat is totally soft and shreddable with a fork.
  7. Meanwhile get started on your bao dough. Combine your flour, sugar, milk powder, baking powder, yeast and salt in a bowl. Pour in your warm water and vegetable oil, then combine quickly with a wooden spoon until it comes together as a dough.
  8. Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 mins until it comes together in a smooth bowl. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film - leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  9. Place your cucumber on a chopping board and hit with the side of a large knife or rolling pin until it starts splitting on the sides. Slice in half lengthways, then chop into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place in a bowl with the salt and coat to combine. Leave for 10 mins to draw out the moisture.
  10. Drain the liquid off your cucumber and add your garlic, jalapenos, caster sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine, then set aside. Garnish with sesame seeds and coriander before serving.
  11. Once risen, turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Roll into a ball, then flatten into a disc and roll out to form a large even circle. In the centre, sprinkle your cheese and lay your beef mix. Fold in the edges, then roll the disc up to form a burrito shape. 
  12. Heat some water in a large wok with a tight fitting lid, and top with a pizza tray lined with parchment. Gently place your bao-ritto on the parchment, folded side down, and put the lid on the pan. Steam your bao-ritto for 15 mins.
  13. Blitz your avocado, sour cream and salt in a blender to form a smooth, pipeable paste. Set aside.
  14. Once cooked, remove your bao-ritto from the steamer and top with your crema, pickled onions and coriander. Serve immediately!