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Today I have strayed away from the Sweet Pastries chapter of A Baker’s Odyssey and onto a savoury chapter of the cookbook – Flatbreads. This recipe intrigued me in its origin as Chinese street food. Street food is always known to be good honest food and this recipe did not disappoint.
According to author Greg Patent, Jain Bing is prepared fresh to order, in front of you. The street seller pour a thin layer of batter onto a griddle. Once that is set an egg is broken onto the pancake, the yolk is broken and spread over the pancake and allowed to cook. Spring onions are sprinkled over and the pancake is folded, cut in a particular manner and wrapped in paper before being handed to the waiting customer. This version was taught to  Greg by his son’s Chinese housekeeper. Her version involves rolling out a thin circle of dough, spreading it with a delicious pork filling and folded before again being rolled out thinly. This final rolling is the tricky bit. Greg recommends flouring liberally and continuing rolling out the dough. Remember this is after the dough has been filled with pork, so the dough is bound to tear and the filling seep through. Soldier on because delicious yumminess awaits!

Jian Bing
(Printable Recipe)

Makes 4 stuffed flatbreads

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour (or measure 1/2 cup all purpose flour, remove 1 tablespoon and replace with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and sift together well)
3/4 cup hot water

1 pound (450g) pork tenderloin
3 scallions (spring onions)
1 inch cube peeled fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chicken broth or water
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for cooking 

To prepare the filling, cut the meat into 1 inch pieces, put them on a tray lined with plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up the meat a bit; don’t freeze the meat solid. Using the metal blade in the food processor add the meat to the bowl and pulse rapidly, stopping to scrape the side of the bowl until the meat is cut into very small pieces. Place the meat in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and beat well with a wooden spoon. The filling can be made an hour ahead and refrigerated.

For the dough, place the flours into a large bowl and stir to combine. Gradually add the hot water, stirring to make a firm but sticky dough. Lightly flour your work surface and scrape the dough onto it. Turn the dough to coat it with flour and knead.Fold the dough over onto itself and push it away with the heel of a hand as you rotate the dough. Once the dough has developed some elasticity pass it rapidly from hand to hand squeezing and kneading it for a minute or two. The dough should feel firm and no longer be sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.
After this time divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape into ball. Let these rest for a further 15 minutes.
On a well floured surface roll a dough ball to a circle 9 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Spread a quarter of the filling as you see above leaveing about 3/4 inch border all the way around. Brush all the exposed surfaces with water. With a sharp knife make a cut from the centre of the circle and about a 1/4 inch to the left of the filling.

Lift the uncovered dough up and over filling as you can see above. Continue to brush

 with water and fold each quarter over until you have completely enclosed the filling.

You should end up with a folded and enclosed triangle like you see above.

Push the edges and tuck the seams under. With cupped hands shape the triangle into a roughly circular shape. Mine never really looked circular in shape!
Now is the tricky part. Gently roll the bing on a well floured surface to an 8 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. The dough will become very thin and you’ll be able to see the pork filling through it. The dough will probably tear in a few points and the pork filling will squeeze through. Don’t worry! Simple flour liberally, flip the bing over a few times and keep rolling to the specified size. Brush off the excess flour.

Heat the oil to very hot and slip a bing into the pan. It will sizzle. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover the pan, press the bing down if it has puffed up ( mine never did) and turn it over. Cover the pan and cook for 3 more minutes. Uncover, press the bing down if it has puffed up. Remove the bing and cut into quarters or sixths to serve. The bing can be kept warm in  a warm oven until all bing are cooked.
I had no problem with keeping my bing warm as they started to disappear even before I took a photo!
These were delicious and got a definite thumbs up by the family.
Another great recipe from “A Baker’s Odyssey”!

I'm continuing my personal challenge of baking my way through…
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