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Triumph of the Bun

Hallowe’en Mask

I am very excited right now! The dream of many years has come true. I have made steamed buns! Hurrah! Chinese cooking is something that has always fascinated me and there’s nothing I like better than heading down to T & T (a large chinese supermarket) or any little Chinese grocery or vegetable market and just browsing and trying new things. Somethings are successful (rich sheet rolls) and some are not (weird yam noodles that taste like solid water). When I was cooking professionally I wanted to work at a Chinese place, preferably a Buddhist one but there was always a language barrier that prevented me from doing so. I’ve wanted to learn about Chinese baking and dim sum but wasn’t sure how as the cooking classes I have been able to locate were taught in Cantonese. There’s always cookbooks but I was a bit intimidated to take on yeasted items  without actually seeing someone do it. (I guess I could look on the internet! Oh well) The point is, I made steamed buns.

Pre-Steamed Buns

What I really wanted twas to have a BBQ bun that was vegetarian. Store bought veggie steamed buns are great but the fillings can be a bit bland and even though I haven’t eaten them in years I remember the great flavour of the BBQ pork buns. So I used the steamed bun recipe from Saveur but did my own filling with the aim of recreating BBQ pork without the meat. I think I succeeded and I hope everyone agrees!

It’s Hallowe’en today so I figured I’d put up a photo of my pumpkin! Have a spooky day!

Haunted Graveyard Pumpkin




BBQ “Pork” Steamed Buns or Char Siu Bao


stand up mixer

bamboo steam baskets with lids (you could jerry rig something with a regular steamer but it’s easier with the bamboo ones)

parchment paper

The Bun (adapted from Saveur magazine)

3 1/2 C flour

1 t baking powder

1 t instant yeast

1 T sugar

2 T veg shortening, diced

-combine yeast with 1 1/4 C water (115  degrees) until foamy about 10 minutes

-make sure the water isn’t too hot (unlike what I did the first few times! Oops, I killed the yeast.)

-combine the dry ingredients in a standup mixer with a paddle attachment

-add the yeast and combine at low speed

-add the shortening one piece at a time

-i kept the speed at low-med for about five minutes until it forms a ball

-cover the bowl with saran wrap and let rise for two hours

Green Onions

The Filling

you can do this while the dough is rising

1/2 t Chinese 5 spice powder

1.5 T molasses

3 T brown sugar

20 oz canned tomato

1 T minced garlic

1 T minced ginger

2 green onions, diced

1 lb firm or extra firm tofu

4 king oyster mushrooms, small diced

2 t minced garlic

-combine the  first seven ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer on low heat for 45 min-1 hour

-puree in blender (be careful) add salt and pepper to taste

-saute the mushrooms and 2 t garlic for 3-4 min

-drain liquid from pan, add crumbled tofu

-saute 2-3 minutes

-add sauce and combine to throughly coat

-let the filling cool to room temp (I didn’t do this and it would have been a lot easier if I had)

Once the Dough Has Risen!

-turn out the dough and knead for 5 minutes

-divide the dough into 8 or 16 depending on how big you want your buns!

-shape into a ball and flatten a bit, place 1 1/5 T or 3-4 T depending on how big they are in the middle and pinch closed

-cut the parchment into little circles or squares and place bun seam side down on the paper, cut in a cross to let steam escape

-place in steamer, cover with lid

-put some water in a wok and get it steaming, put in steamer and cook 12-15 minutes until the buns are cooked and puffed





One response »

  1. Mmmmmm these sound and look amazing!!!


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