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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Steamed Pork Buns

They say "curiosity killed the cat"... this time, curiosity fed the cook!

Steamed pork buns are always a hit especially during yum cha... that soft white bread just goes perfectly well with whatever is enveloped in its pure delectable glory. What makes this puffy bread so light and tasty? It just had to be discovered within one of my favorite places - the kitchen.

A tip from a colleague's mom of Chinese background, several google searches and a couple of hours later, the secret was uncovered (or 'eaten', i should say!).

The 'couple of hours' is primarily attributed to the rising of the dough. This recipe is my take on the various recipes found online. The stuffing is also a personal option.

Kitchen gadgetry required:
bamboo steamer (available in the asian store near you)
rolling pin
big bowl

For the dough I used:
1 1/3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons sugar
pinch of salt
a glug of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon instant active yeast
lukewarm water, just enough to combine into a non sticky mixture

Mix 1/3 of the flour with sugar, yeast and dissolve in some lukewarm water, until the mixture froths a bit. This is just to activate the yeast. Mix the rest of the ingredients and form into a dough, and knead until smooth and elastic. Roll into a ball and place in an oiled boil, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled its size. Punch down and roll into logs, about 1.5 inches in diameter and cut into 2-3 inch segments.

yeah it looks like a baguette

Roll each of the segments and shape into a circle with a rolling pin and add a good pile of the stuffing in the middle.

my circles were not so perfect. most of them were rectangular!

Fold the top to seal into a bun. (Top tip on folding the bun from this site that i came across - very helpful!)

amateur bun folder's work - i think it looked more like dumplings!

This a chunky filling :
around 350g pork loin, diced into small pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
grated ginger
3 cayenne chilis, minced
minced coriander leaves
dash of soy sauce and vinegar to taste

Saute garlic, onion and chilis in oil until softened, add pork and stir fry. Season with soy sauce and vinegar, sti until pork is cooked. Finish with ginger and the coriander and turn heat off. Let cool before stuffing into the bun.

After the buns are assembled, cut out baking paper or parchment paper and line the buns before placing in a bamboo steamer (my steamer is small so i had to make small buns!). The parchment keeps the buns from sticking into the steamer (important for a quick cleanup!). Set the buns aside and start boiling some water in a pot. The time it takes to boil the water allows a bit more rising time for the buns as well.

Steam for around 10-15 minutes or until bread is puffed up and cooked!

feeling hot! hot! hot!

finished product - the first attempt at steamed buns!

even the camera got hungry and can't quite focus

Cook's notes:
- Probably add a bit more sugar next time
- don't roll out the circles too thinly for a thicker layer of bread
- add more filling so that when closing the top there would not be too much overlaps that make it look like a dumpling


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Scribe's Notes

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