Make—and Devour—the Dumplings from Pixar’s Oscar-Winning Film “Bao”

But don’t expect these buns to come to life.

Disney Pixar

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The Oscar-winning animated short film Bao centers on a cute little Chinese dumpling and his immigrant parents. Director and illustrator Domee Shi, who immigrated from China to Canada as a girl, says she wanted to use the story to explore the “food language of love”—a concept that is both endearing and dark given the film’s plot twist. You can hear Shi talk more about the real-life experiences that infused Bao on our podcast Bite:

As a side project, Shi asked her mom to work on a bao (dumpling) recipe guide with her. Scroll through the illustrations Shi drew below or head straight for the recipe here.

Domee’s Mom’s Super Delicious Recipe for Bao

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 500 mL water

Filling (adjust all seasoning to taste)

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb Chinese cabbage, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 2-3 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 2-3 teaspoons cooking wine
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Mix flour with yeast in mixing bowl.

Add water and knead until a solid dough ball forms. If it gets too sticky, add more flour. If it’s too dry, add more water.

Let the dough rise for about two hours.

Cook half of the ground pork in a pan and mix it with the raw pork.

Mix the pork with the chopped cabbage, carrots, green onions, ground ginger, sesame oil, olive oil, pepper, chicken bouillon powder, oyster sauce, cooking wine, beaten egg, and salt. 

Once your dough has risen, dust your countertop with flour and roll out the dough into a long rope using the “windmill technique.”

Cut the dough rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece out into a wrapper. 

Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of filling into center of wrapper. Then, carefully pinch and fold the wrapper closed, twisting the top to finish. Make sure to press the dough tight to seal the top.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place the baos in a steaming basket lined with cabbage leaves to prevent sticking and place the basket on top of the boiling pot of water. Close lid. Steam for 15 minutes, then turn off heat and let the baos rest for five minutes.

Eat or adopt as your surrogate child.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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