Chinese steamed buns are such great snacks and are often eaten at brunch or lunch. These are really simple to make and although slightly time consuming, you can make large batches and freeze them. I think it’s worth the effort to make these from scratch because the frozen ones, although delicious, contain MSG, preservatives and too much sodium. You can buy pre-mixed steamed bun flour or you can make the buns from scratch; instructions for both have been provided below. Photo instructions for how to pleat steamed buns are at the bottom.
Photos Below: Left – Pork steamed buns after coming out of the steamer; Right – Before going on the rack in the steamer
Pork and Shiitake Mushroom Steamed Buns Recipe
makes 12 buns
for the buns:
1 package of steamed bun flour (found in asian grocery and is a pre-mixed blend of flours for making steamed buns)
for the filling:
300 g boneless pork shoulder or pork butt ground in a food processor or finely minced by hand using a cleaver in each hand (I’ve found that store ground meat does not work as well)
4 large dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced thinly and chopped
5 water chestnuts, chopped into small pieces (optional)
1/2 tbsp finely grated ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sesame oil
a few dashes ground white pepper
Mix all of the ingredients for the filling into a bowl. Stir in the same direction until the filling starts to get sticky. Chill in the refrigerator. Cut out 12 squares of parchment paper in the size of 1.5 x 1.5 inches. You can cook a small portion of the filling to test the flavour. Then you can adjust the flavourings to taste.
Follow the instructions on the package of the steamed bun flour to prepare enough dough for 12 buns, but reduce the amount of sugar by half. Knead the dough until it becomes soft and smooth. Roll the dough into a long cylinder. Cover it with a damp towel and set at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Cut the cylinder into 12 equal pieces. Work with one piece at a time. Roll a piece in your hand into a ball and flatten it using a rolling pin on a floured surface or between your hands. Try to make the centre part thicker than the edges. Add 1/12th of the filling into the centre of the dough round. (See photo instructions below for how to pleat a bun.) To seal the buns: Using two fingers, pinch one area of the dough together to make a pleat. Fold the immediately adjacent dough to form another pleat next to it while you overlap and pinch the ends of both pleats together. Continue around the bun until the entire top is sealed. Place the bun on top of a paper square, pleat side up. Repeat with the remaining buns.
Prepare your steamer equipment and boil the water. (I use a wok with a lid and a stainless steel steamer basket. Here are detailed instructions for how to steam cook food.) Add a few drops of white vinegar into the boiling water to help give the buns a whiter colour. Place the buns and paper onto the rack (see picture above) or into a bamboo steamer. Leave 2 inches between the buns as they will expand. Steam for 10 – 12 minutes. Check the level of water to make sure that your wok doesn’t burn dry. Remove when done and serve immediately. The inside will be very hot and the pork will be cooked through.
When the buns are cooled, you can freeze them. Reheat from frozen in the steamer for 8–12 minutes or in the microwave for 40 – 45 seconds.
I borrowed these awesome photo instructions from the My Kitchen food blog.