STEAMED PORK BUNS

May 15, 2017

I love buns! I could live of of those things when I’m in Asia.
I admit, sometimes it’s a bit like eating Betty Botts Beans. You never quite know what they are filled with. Might be a good, bad or just weird surprise ;)
My favourite are the ones filled with pulled pork. So after craving those little goodies for a long, long time I decided to give it a try myself. And who would have thought – theses things are extremely easy to make. The dough is like magic. Works perfect every time – fluffy, moist and just delicious. The looks on the other hand – yeah… Took me a while to get the buns closed even remotely as pretty as you get them in China. Still half of my buns usually look like a car accident. Gladly it doesn’t take away from the amazing taste. Even if you don’t manage to fully close them it shouldn’t really be a problem in the steamer.
This bun recipe works with all kind of fillings. I like to vary it a little each time. The dough can also be used for Asian wraps or just plain as a snack.

NIKUMAN [steamed pork buns]

buns

  • 300g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon oil [neutral flavour]
  • 160 to 170ml water

filling

  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ cup water [if needed]
  • 2 spring onions
  • 180g pak choi
  • 340g pulled pork [or ground pork + 1 teaspoon salt]
  • thumb sized piece ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

_ thoroughly blend flour, sugar, salt and yeast

_ mix in oil and water

_ once dough comes together transfer to a clean work surface

_ knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes until it becomes smooth and silky [sounds like a long time but it’s really worth it]

_ form dough into a smooth ball, dust with flour and place in a bowl

_ cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place [until double in size – about 60 minutes]

_ soak dried shiitake mushrooms in ½ cup water

_ place something heavy on top so the mushrooms stay submerged [soak for about 10 to 15 minutes]

_ thinly slice spring onions and chop pak choi into small strips

_ once shiitake mushrooms are hydrated, squeeze the liquid out

_ mince mushrooms and ginger

_ combine pork, spring onions and mushrooms

_ blend ginger and all seasoning

_ add seasoning to the pork mixture

_ add a little bit of water and flour to make the filling stick together

_ once the dough has doubled in size transfer it to a floured work surface

_ divide the dough into 12 to 14 equal pieces

_ form each piece into a small ball

_ place on a board and cover loosely with a damp kitchen cloth to avoid drying out

_ take the first ball out and flatten it with your palm

_ roll with a rolling pin to end up with a round piece of dough about 10 cm in diameter [center of the dough should be a little thicker than the edges]

_ scoop about 1.5 tablespoons of filling into the center of the dough disk

_ hold dough in your left hand

_ pick up a corner of the dough with your right index finger and thumb and pinch together

_ keep your thumb in place while folding up more dough with your index finger and pinching it together

_ proceed the same way until the pouch is closed [use your left hands thumb to keep the filling inside]

_ seal the top by pinching all dough together and twisting it in the direction of your folds

_ place the bun on a piece of parchment paper

_ cover the finished buns with plastic wrap and repeat process with the rest of the dough

_ leave to rest for 20 minutes

_ meanwhile bring water to a boil

_ set a steamer on top and place the buns loosely inside [they will almost double in size]

_ close the lid and steam over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes [10 for small buns – 13 for medium buns – 15 for large buns]

_ enjoy while still hot

Buns keep well in the fridge till the next day and freeze well after steaming [it’s suggested to be consumed within 1 week]. To defrost you can steam the frozen buns for a few minutes.

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