As some of you may know, I will be departing on a two-week journey to Vietnam in 21 days. Through a non-profit, student organization called Vietnam Health Clinic (VHC), a group of volunteers (including myself), physicians, optometrists, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists will be providing free healthcare to under-served regions of Huế in Central Vietnam. We’ll also visit orphanages, giving out toys and teaching personal hygiene. What a journey it will be!
We have been preparing for our trip since January, raising money to purchase supplies, acquiring donations of medicine and personal hygiene products, and recruiting healthcare professionals. And as August 23rd draws near, it’s crunch time! Although I’ve been brushing up on my Vietnamese, learning names and uses of common drugs, and practicing taking blood pressure, how will I ever feel fully prepared for the intense clinic days that are about to come? I just won’t. We’re estimated to serve around 400 patients a day! But, I’m way more excited than nervous. It’s going to feel incredibly rewarding and enlightening, helping out so many people and observing so many knowledgeable healthcare professionals:) I can’t wait!!!
So in honor of all things Vietnamese, I thought I’d post my mom’s recipe for bánh bao, or “enveloping cake”. This savory steamed bun is filled with a pork mixture, hard boiled egg, and Chinese sausage. It’s a great snack and perfect for breakfast!
Vietnamese Bánh Bao
Makes about 16 buns
- Bánh Bao flour mix, found at Vietnamese/Asian markets (needs milk and sugar to prepare!)
- 1.5 pounds of ground pork
- 1/2 half of small white onion, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Chinese sausage, sliced
- 8 hardboiled eggs, peeled
- Prepare the dough, as directed on the back of the package.
- In a small bowl, mix the ground pork, onion, salt, and pepper.
- Cut the Chinese sausage into slices and the hardboiled eggs in half or quarters (your preference on how much egg you want!).
- When the dough is set, take about a tablespoon size ball of dough and roll out into a circle so that it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place a heaping 2 teaspoons of the pork mix, a few slices of sausage, and the sliced egg inside.
- Bring the sides of the dough up and twist to seal in a tight bun inside. Pinch to patch up any holes. Place the bun on a square of parchment paper.
- Steam the buns for about 20 minutes. I have a steaming rack to put over a pot of boiling water. The dough will puff up and the pork should be thoroughly cooked.