Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Homemade Chinese Steamed Buns
My dad used to make homemade steamed buns all the time when my siblings and I were kids. Sometimes my childhood food memories taste better than the modern recreations. But this matched the memory.
Due to popular demand, I asked my father for this "secret" family recipe and revealing it for all. These are just estimates off of the top of my dad's head, hence the weird yield (17 buns?). I'm not a recipe writer and even though baking is more scientific than cooking, this is technically steaming not baking.
8 cups of all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cups of water
3 to 4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 whole eggs, beaten - if you want a whiter colour, just use egg whites
Active yeast (1 tsp; follow the instructions for proofing)
1/4 tsp of sugar in the yeast
The Li Family filling is ground pork, and diced carrots, white onions and white mushrooms, sauteed in a pan with oyster sauce, salt, pepper and a little soy sauce. But as my dad says, filling is easy. Make whatever you like. There are some classics but I'm all for experimentation. For a vegetarian substitution, he suggested diced carrots, white onions, white mushrooms, bamboo shoots and chives.
(Okay, the following instructions I know are a major fail because I'm not sure how to write it out, as I just watch my dad do it and know from experience.)
Combine wet and dry ingredients till it forms a soft dough. Let rise two hours.
Knead dough. Form into even-sized "balls" (they won't really be balls because the dough is very soft). Place filling in center of flattened ball, and pinch sides to top to fold in and close. Pat in hands to form back into a "ball." Let rise for another 10 minutes. Cook in steamer for 10 minutes if you sauteed the filling beforehand. Cook for 20 minutes for uncooked meat; and 12 minutes for a veggie filling.
And report back with how it went...