This is an authentic Chinese recipe for baba, a wheat-based flat bread that is filled with sweet or savoury ingredients and pan-fried until flaky and crispy (though you can also bake them in the oven). This version is flavoured with peanuts and walnuts, and two types of sugar.
- 150 g (2 cups) wheat flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 500 ml (2 cups) spring water
- ½ cup roasted peanuts
- ½ cup roasted walnuts
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup lard
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Combine the flour and baking soda in a large bowl. Gradually add the water, mixing with your hands. Knead and fold the mixture until a soft dough forms. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for 10 minutes to rest.
Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, pound the peanuts until crushed. Add the walnuts and black sesame seeds. Pound until a powder forms. Add the caster sugar and brown sugar, and mix well.
Divide the rested dough into three balls. Using a rolling pin, roll each portion to 5 mm thick and 30 cm in length. Spread 1 tbsp of lard over each dough portion.
Lay one portion of dough onto a flat work surface. Roll from one end to the other to form a firm roll. Holding the dough at each end, twist the roll. Place one end onto the bench and flatten with your palm. Knead the dough in a circular motion until round and 1 cm thick.
Using both hands, form the dough into a pocket. Spoon 3 tsp of the peanut-sugar mixture into the pocket. Pinch the edges to enclose the filling, forming a round bun.
Use the rolling pin to roll the bun into a 1 cm-thick circle.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the baba and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden brown and crisp.
Slice into eight pieces. Serve.