This week’s recipe is a childhood favourite: Chinese xian bing, or meat pies! My grandmother used to make these every time we went to Beijing to visit. And now, with quarantine boredom as an excuse to experiment more in the kitchen, these Chinese xian bing have made a reappearance on our kitchen table.
They’re a lovely pancake-esque package of pork & veggies wrapped in a thin layer of dough. Each bite starts with a crispy outer layer, followed by the chewiness of the dough, and ending with a savoury burst of flavour with the pork & napa cabbage filling.
Before we get into the recipe, Pin this image to Pinterest so you have it saved for later (and to help me share this recipe with more people)!
I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with some new food photography props that I bought with my mom the other day 🙂 Although I’m still not entirely happy with the shots I’m taking, but it’s a learning curve! My goal is to be more aware of rules of composition and integrate them more into my photos.
If anyone has any photography tips or feedback for me, please be sure to leave them in the comments below (or send me a DM on Instagram)!
Xian Bing dough and filling
The dough for these Chinese xian bing is pretty simple! Just flour, salt, and water. There’s more water in it that you would find in a dough for dumpling wrappers or noodles. This allows for the dough to be softer, more flexible, and easier to handle. In other words, it can stretch and get really thin as you pack in filling.
As for the filling, you can choose to make the one indicated in the recipe below, try this recipe from my Pork & Napa Steamed Buns, or come up with your own! Just remember — essential components of a delicious filling are ginger, green onion, soy sauce, oil, and salt.
Assembling the Xian Bing
Although assembling the Chinese xian bing can be a little complicated at first, practice makes perfect! Start off with wrapping smaller fillings, and try to pack in more as you get more skilled. Hopefully these step-by-step images can help you out!
1. First, start by portioning out your rested dough into 30g portions, about the size of a golf ball. If you don’t have a food scale, just get them as even as possible. (Psst … I got mine on Amazon and use it every single time I cook or bake a recipe!)
2. Next, press down one portion into a flat disc with your fingers onto the cutting board or work surface. Make sure your hands and fingers are greased with oil!
3. Join your thumb and forefinger together on your non-dominant hand to make a circle (like the OK-symbol). Place the dough disc on here.
4. Take a generous spoonful of filling and place it on top of the disc. (The more filling, the thinner the dough layer will become, and the better the xian bing will be!)
5. With your thumb on your other hand, carefully press the filling down. As you press, the dough will stretch and droop down below your fingers.
6. Keep pressing until all the filling has been pressed into and enveloped by the dough. Make sure to leave a ring of dough uncovered, sitting on top of your hand.
7. Pinch together the edges of the dough and seal the xian bing.
8. In a fry pan with higher sides, heat some oil on medium heat. Place a xian bing seal-side down. Moreover, use your fingers to press it down so it’s a flatter, pancake-esque shape rather than a ball. (Be careful that you don’t burn yourself!)
9. Fry until golden-brown, flipping to cook both sides. Prop up the xian bing on its side, along the sides of the pan to cook and brown the sides as well. Repeat for all the Chinese xian bing and enjoy!
Lastly, a BONUS PICTURE: When I was taking pictures for this blog post, Barley (my sister’s doggo) kept sticking his nose into my scene 😉 We brought him back at the end to take this shot! What a great model. Follow his Instagram account @barleybubs for more doggy cuteness!
Did you make this recipe? Share it with me on social media and tag me @houbakes so I can see and share it!