Sunday, July 23, 2017

Char Siu Bao and Trying Again

We made these yesterday. And it was arduous, lemme tell you, but we made these.
First off, it's part of our 52 weeks of cooking challenge, which I've written (and even performed) about.
Second, I hadn't even had bao at all (or dim sum) prior to this May, when my bestie and I attended her brother's 50th birthday party and we went to an awesome dim sum place in Chicago. We had a great time learning about it, eating it, and then feeling bad about how much we ate on the way home.

So when it came up on the challenges, I immediately knew I wanted to do steamed buns (bao)
I was really excited about it, but then I got to my research phase and found that a cook I really admire (whose name I will withhold here, just cuz) had said they couldn't find a successful recipe and to buy the bun stuff frozen.

I'll admit here that sometimes I'm a bit lazy. I was inclined to just take it as a cautionary tale and not even try. Which likely, in our area, as littered with stores as it is, could have ended up taking hours more, since I'd have had to hunt the depths of our grocery stores for the dough, which should be "available at any store" but around here, even with the diversity of ethnic groups, doesn't hold true.

I did more research and found a recipe I knew was legit, and we set off.

Our first batch did not work. Dough seized up. We've had a rough as hell week between leftover schedule upset from the flooding, the toilet having issues and having to be re-installed due to flooding, thrown backs, lots of work deadlines, migraines and more. It's been *real* special, in that I hate life way.

I was tempted to throw in the towel (Oh yeah, and like, 40 loads of laundry to clean towels from the flood and then again the same ones from the toilet install. Right, and it rained and stuff torrentially just recently AFTER the floods. And so.)

But we decided, sleep deprived and weary though we were, that we were just gonna try one more time. So we did.

And it still didn't look like it'd work. But after the 1.5 hour first rise, 30 minute second rise, and 45 minute final rise (and after rolling 50 teeny little balls meticulously and then flattening them out just as meticulously)...



I did not expect it and I am over the moon about it. I really thought we'd have spent something like 6 hours on it and just have to go to the store and get frozen ones and feel bad.

They were springy and cooked through and soft and warm and stuff, and it was awesome.

Couple that with an amazing char siu pork that we'd also spent hours making, some pickles I mixed up, and scallions, and we had a freaking fantastic meal at home I'd have paid good money for.

So why am I blogging at you all about this?

I have reasons. Reasons that taught me things, folks.

Because, first...we needed a win after all this random upset.
Second, because sometimes it takes longer to be lazy than it does to actually just do things the right way. And being lazy backfires, too.
Third, because have a little faith in yourself, and don't be scared to try something someone else failed, no matter who they are.
Fourth...well...putting in the time pays off. And hard work can make you happy.

I'm gonna try and take this into the working week.
And the writing life.

Happy Monday's eve, y'all.
Don't give up.

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