Recipe: Steam Buns


 

When I was 15 I traveled the world.

I ate mostly french fries and cheese sticks, but occasionally an exotic edible looked bland enough I’d muster the courage to try it. I had, after all, a sick aversion to spice. ..And I was in SE Asia… *shaking head at lameness of it all* I lost a lot of weight from just flat-out refusing to eat.

Enter Chinese Steamed Buns, a godsend.

The first one I had was at a market and only because my friend, Annelise, insisted. Hard. She promised I’d like it. She swore.  She said it was the best thing ever. And, dammit, it was lunch time. We HAD to eat something.

But there were no french fries or cheese sticks in sight.

So I caved. I gave in and tried a new food. I was instantly glad I did: Annelise was right.

I’ve spent 15 or so years since looking for a decent copy of that yummy little filled white poof ball. I’ve finally found it. And I’m so excited to share it. It is, after all, possibly the single most important dish in my culinary evolution: its the dish that got me to eat something other than french fries and cheese sticks. To not be afraid of new things. To trust the advice of friends. To embrace novelty. To just be in the moment.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: you will need a wok and steam plate, like this

This recipe comes from the always fabulous allrecipes.com

To read a fantastic account of one person’s love for the perfect steamed buns, click here to go to exilekiss

FOR THE BUNS:

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix in 1/2 cup warm water, flour, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and vegetable oil. Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  3. Punch down dough, and spread out on a floured board. Knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 2 parts, and place the piece you are not working with in a covered bowl. Divide each half into 12 parts. Shape each part into a ball with smooth surface up. Put each ball on a wax paper square. Let stand covered until double, about 30 minutes.
  4. Bring water to a boil in wok, and reduce heat to medium; the water should still be boiling. Place steam-plate on a small wire rack in the middle of the wok. Transfer as many buns on wax paper as will comfortably fit onto steam-plate leaving 1 to 2 inches between the buns. At least 2 inches space should be left between steam-plate and the wok. Cover wok with lid. Steam buns over boiling water for 15 minutes.
  5. REMOVE LID BEFORE you turn off heat, or else water will drip back onto bun surface and produce yellowish “blisters” on bun surfaces. Continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked.

 

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces chopped pork (the fattier, the better)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can shrimp, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook chopped pork in a wok over medium heat. After 3 minutes of cooking add chopped shrimp if desired. Cook until pork is no longer pink. Drain, season with salt and set aside to cool.
  2. Mix together green onions, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, oil, sugar, and pepper. Stir in minced meat. Stir in water and mix thoroughly. Chill in freezer for 2 hours, or in refrigerator overnight to firm up and blend flavors.
  3. Prepare dough for Chinese Steamed Buns.
  4. Shape dough into balls. Roll each out into a circle, (like Won-Ton wrappers). Put 1 tablespoonful of prepared meat mixture in the center of each circle, and wrap dough around filling. Place seams down onto wax paper squares. Let stand until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5. Bring water to a boil in wok, and reduce heat to medium; the water should still be boiling. Place steam-plate on a small wire rack in the middle of the wok. Transfer as many buns on wax paper as will comfortably fit onto steam-plate leaving 1 to 2 inches between the buns. At least 2 inches space should be left between steam-plate and the wok. Cover wok with lid. Steam buns over boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. REMOVE LID BEFORE you turn off heat, or else water will drip back onto bun surface and produce yellowish “blisters” on bun surfaces. Continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked.
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2 thoughts on “Recipe: Steam Buns

  1. It’s pretty similar to the recipe I started using earlier this year. I’ve also found that there are a number of decent packaged bao mixes in my local markets (H-Mart and Grand, mainly). I keep those on hand because there are days when I’m not willing to sacrifice my recipe to the mixing & measuring prowess of the toddler. My biscuits and pancakes are pretty resilient. My bao, not so much.

    I’ve also started to really enjoy rice flour steamed buns, which are a bit of a pain to work with, but really fast and easy to make.

    http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com/2009/10/banh-it-tran-recipe-sticky-rice.html

    • oooooh! Thanks! I had some store-bought frozen stream buns from Grandmart in Reston 2 years ago and they were awful awful awful–didn’t know they had mixes, that would be nice… Thanks for the link!! I’m going to try that!

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