I’ve been a fan of Jeremy Pang and his School of Wok for a long time; I’ve attended a lot of classes in a lot of cookery schools over the years and Jeremy’s is one of the best. Attending a class there is hugely enjoyable and delicious, as it is at many schools, but the way the classes are structured and the quality of teaching are particularly effective here.
Jeremy’s first book, Chinese Unchopped, is similarly helpful in demystifying Chinese cooking without losing flavour or authenticity.
Last year saw the launch of Jeremy’s first restaurant venture – he’s the ‘executive development chef‘ of Cha Chaan Teng, a few steps down Kingsway from Holborn station. Named for the cha chaan teng tea cafes of Hong Kong, the menu is a fusion of English and Chinese dishes, with a few nods to cha chaan teng classics such as toasted bread rolls with condensed milk and a spam and macaroni soup.
The decor, it must be said, it not at all reminiscent of the original cafes in which one is often crammed together with other customers, sharing a worn but clean formica tables, sat on rickety stools or chairs. You’re in and out fast after enjoying your cheap comfort-food meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In the restaurant it’s all padded leather banquettes (albeit with a retro diner kind of aesthetic) and snogging couples who really need to get a room!
Since the restaurant’s launch, customers have been enjoying Jeremy’s slider-style bao burgers featuring a range of fillings including braised beef, hoisin duck, sweet and sour chicken, fried aubergine and sweet potato. To celebrate these delicious bao I went along to attend a hands-on bao making lesson in which we learned how to make the dough and how to shape it for both slider baos and traditional filled closed bao.
If you want to have a go, here are the recipes for fluffy white bao buns with a braised beef short rib filling plus the finishing sauce and garnishes.
Cha Chaan Teng’s Braised Beef Short Rib Bao Burger
Overnight Pickled Carrot and Coriander (Garnish)
100ml rice vinegar
5ml sesame oil
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 small handful coriander, roughly torn
- The night before you want to make the bao burgers, make your pickled carrot.
- Combine all ingredients save your carrot and coriander and stir or shake in a lidded jar to fully dissolve sugar. Then, add in your sliced carrot, seal with lid or cover with cling film, and leave to pickle overnight in the fridge. Right before serving your baos, add your freshly torn coriander.
Slow Braised Chilli Beef Short Rib
5 whole beef short ribs
2 cloves, chopped garlic
1 thumb ginger, chopped
5-6 spring onions, sliced into thin rounds
1 tsp. chilli flakes
1 tbsp. fermented black beans
1-2 tbsp. sambal chilli paste
4 tbsp. oyster sauce
3 tbsp. oyster sauce
4 tbsp. Ching kiang black vinegar
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
500ml beef stock (for slow cooking)
- Begin by combining all of the braising liquid ingredients. Then, in a saucepan set on a medium heat quickly fry off the chopped garlic, ginger, and sliced spring onions. Once softened and fragrant, add the braising liquid and bring to a boil.
- In a separate large pan over a high heat, sear the short ribs on all sides to seal in their flavour.
- Once your braising liquid is boiling, place the ribs into the sauce and allow to simmer, making sure to baste the ribs with the sauce, keeping them well coated (approx. five minutes)
- Transfer ribs and sauce to a large roasting tray, covering completely with beef stock. Place ribs into a pre-heated 140C oven for eight hours, to create incredibly tender and intensely flavourful short ribs.
- Once cooked, slice the meat off the bone and reserve the braising liquid.
Bao Burger Dough Recipe
530g Yellow Kirin Middle Gluten Wheat Flour
15g baking powder
300ml warm water
25ml vegetable oil
8g fast action dried yeast
30g caster Sugar
Preparing the bao dough:
- Into a free standing mixer (if available) pour in the yellow kirin flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and yeast and start to combine on a low setting. After this stage you’ll want to switch from a paddle to a dough hook if available.
- In a separate container combine the milk, warm water and vegetable oil. Then slowly pour the liquid into the mixer and knead on a low to medium speed for 2-3 minutes until all of the water is mixed into the flour.
- Once combined, knead on a high speed for approx. 2 minutes until the dough has a smooth-yet-tacky feel to it.
- Cover the dough with 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, followed by a damp cloth.
- Rest dough in a warm, preferably moist, draft-free location such as an oven for up to one hour.
Make the bao burger shapes as follows:
- Once the dough has rested, separate the dough into balls, roughly ping pong size (20g). Then, flatten half of the number of balls you created to make your buns and brush each bun lightly with oil.
- Place the remaining balls on top of each of the flattened and oiled pieces, pressing down with a domed or cup shaped palm to create height.
- Once all of the burgers have been shaped, spray with cold water and cover with a damp cloth, allowing them to prove in a warm, draft-free environment for another 15-20 minutes.
- When you are ready to serve, steam each bun in a closed steam basket over a wok with boiling water for approx. 8 minutes.
Beef Bao Finishing Sauce
100ml reserved braising sauce
50ml vegetable stock
100ml sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
- Mix together all of your finishing sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce by half until a thick, syrupy texture is reached.
Assembling the Bao Burgers
Bao burger buns
Braised beef short Rib, removed from the bone
Carrot and coriander pickle
A handful of watercress
Thin slices of red onion
Optional: skewer per bao burger
- To fill your bao first add your shredded beef rib to the base of your bun, topped with your carrot pickle and 1 tablespoon of finishing sauce, and finally the top bun.
- For best results (to keep your bao buns together) add a skewer through the middle and serve.
Kavey Eats attended the bao making event as a guest of Cha Chaan Teng. Recipe text and images provided by Cha Chaan Teng. Recipe order reworked for clarity.