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
- 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
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.