Braised Scotch Beef Oxtail Baozi
Makes 8, enough for 8 people as a starter, or 4 people as a main course
FOR THE BRAISED OXTAIL
1.5 kg Scotch Beef PGI oxtail, trimmed of fat and cut into 5 cm pieces (ask your butcher to do this for you)
125 ml Chinese cooking wine
300ml beef stock
1 tbsp liquid honey
5 tbsp soy sauce
2 star anise
4 Sichuan peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 cm piece root ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic, halved
100 g button mushrooms, thinly sliced, fried in a little butter till browned and dryish
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp water
3 spring onions, sliced
FOR THE DOUGH
500 g plain flour
250 g milk and water (half and half)
2 tbsp dried traditional yeast
25 g sugar
1 tsp salt
These Braised Scotch Beef Oxtail Baozi are moorish and delicious. Baozi are Chinese steamed stuffed buns often bought from street stalls and eaten as a breakfast snack. To effortlessly make a tangy braised oxtail stuffing use your slow cooker, then you can concentrate on making and shaping the lovely soft yeast dough.
The preparation of the oxtail takes just ten minutes, then it’s cooked low and slow in your slow cooker either for 11 hours on the low setting or 5 and a half hours on the high setting. If possible make this the day before so it can be cool when stuffed into the baozi.
The dough for the Baozi buns will take 3 hours (including proving time) and then they can be steamed in around 20 minutes.
to make the Braised Oxtail
Pat it dry with kitchen paper and then brown the pieces all over in a frying pan and blot up any extra fat that is rendered from the meat. You could put it straight into the slow cooker if you are short of time, but pre-browning will ensure a better, more intense flavour and colour. Then add the cooking wine and stock to the pan to deglaze and bring to a bubbling heat.
Lift the pieces of oxtail into the cooking pot, add the honey, soy sauce, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, bay leaf, ginger and garlic to the stock in the pan, heat and stir. Pour the pan contents over the oxtail and make sure the oxtail is submerged in the liquid as much as possible.
Cook on the HIGH setting for 5-6 hrs ( or LOW for 10-11 hrs).
About half an hour at the end of the cooking time, mix the cornflour and water until smooth, carefully lift the lid of the slow cooker and stir in the mushrooms, mixed cornflour and spring onions. Return the lid and continue cooking for 30-40 minutes until thickened.
Tip the slow cooker contents into a large bowl to cool. When cool enough to handle the oxtail, pull all the meat from the bones with a fork and return to the gravy until cold. Discard the bones. Chill until the dough is ready for shaping into baozi.
To make the dough, known as Mantou
Warm the milk and water to blood heat, add the sugar then sprinkle the yeast over the top and set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes until properly dissolved and frothy on top.
Sieve the flour into a warm mixing bowl, that of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook if you have one, (or a bread maker, to the end of the first proving stage). Add the salt.
Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and knead for about 5 minutes in the mixer, or 10 minutes if by hand until the dough feels smooth and silky and not sticky. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with oiled cling film or a damp clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place until puffy and doubled in volume. Up to 2 hrs.
When it’s ready, turn out the dough onto a work surface and knock back the dough, lightly knead for a minute. Shape the dough into a log shape and cut into 8 equal pieces, roll out into rounds (about 20 cm diameter) thinner at the outside edge than in the middle, and place one on each parchment square.
To make the baozi bun
Spoon some of the oxtail mixture into a mound on each piece of dough. Lift each, still on the paper, into your left hand and begin to gather up and pinch the dough in pleats with your right hand (or vice versa if you’re left handed), one by one rotating the bun as you go until all gathered in a slightly flattened bun shape with a finger dip in the top of each. Place the buns, still on their paper into two steamer baskets. Cover with oiled film and allow to rise a little for about 30 minutes.
Set up your steamer then steam the buns for about 17 to 20 minutes until lovely and puffy.
Eat while hot