Don't be daunted by the task of making bao - the pillowy filled buns that you may have eaten lots of at dim sum. The shape is akin to cinching up a satchel (think of a hobo bag). You need this shape to master stuffed buns (Chinese bao, Filipino siopao, Vietnamese banh bao) and the graduate level Shanghai soup dumpling (xiao long bao, XLB). "The Perfect Shanghai Soup Dumpling" video I taped with the Chinese chef at Shanghai Dumpling King gives you a sense of rapid fire closed satchel making. You can work up to that but he started decades ago.
The video below slows thing down quite a bit to help you along. Do note that this shape only works for wrappers that you make from scratch. Do not try this technique on purchased pot sticker or wontons as they are not moist enough to seal properly. That said, review the instructions in Asian Dumplings on how to roll out dumpling wrappers and watch the video. That will bring you up to speed on where this video takes off!
A dumpling makeover tip: When making yeast-leavened bao, you can steam the dumpling with the pleats facing down to hide imperfections! No one will be the wiser.
Related how-to videos:
- How to roll out Asian dumpling wrappers
- Basic Asian dumpling shapes: Half Moon, Pea Pod and Big Hug
- Advanced dumpling shapes: Pleated Crescent
- How to shape a rope edge (for empanadas, turnovers, curry puffs)
- How to fold basic wonton shapes
- The Perfect Shanghai Soup Dumpling