As you may recall, at the beginning of this whole saga, I was planning to make Vietnamese tacos like we had enjoyed at Cheesecake Factory, but was having trouble finding instructions, so I kind of made things up as I went. For the buns, recipes and instructions, and options abounded, so I picked a little from column A and a bit from column B and came up with this.
Mix thoroughly, then cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour, until bubbles appear.
Add the sugar and Crisco or vegetable oil to 1/2 cup of boiling water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cool until lukewarm.
Add the cooled sugar water and the remaining 3-1/2 cups of flour.
With the mixer set on medium, knead the dough until the flour is well incorporated, then increase the speed to high and continue to knead until the dough is smooth. It’ll be a little sticky.
Transfer the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl, give it a turn to coat all sides, then cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 2 hours – the notes I found said it would double in bulk, but it looked like a fair bit more to me.
Cut waxed or parchment paper into 4 inch squares – I ended up with 15 buns, so used 15 pieces.
Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured board.
Cut the log into more-or-less evenly sized pieces – then roll each piece into a ball.
Flatten each ball into a roughly three inch circle, then poke a dimple in the center.
Add about a tablespoon of the pork mixture on top of the dimple, then pull two sides of the dough up and over the filling and pinch together. Pull the other two sides of the dough up and pinch together.
Repeat with the remaining dough and pork mixture.
Cover lightly with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for an hour.
Heat the oven to 350º.
Bake in your preheated oven for ten minutes, then rotate the baking pan and bake for another five to ten minutes, until the buns are golden brown.
We had ours on a bed of shredded Napa cabbage, scallions, and carrots with assorted sauces on the side. I tried mine with a dab o’ plum sauce, then drizzled a bit of my Asian-style tamari dressing over the cabbage.
But then I got to thinking…