Steamed Chinese Meat Buns
Bun Dough Ingredients:
- 400g All purpose flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 30ml lukewarm water
- 200ml milk or water +/- 10ml
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1tbsp cooking oil
- 40g sugar
- 2g salt
- 1/10 tsp baking soda (optional)
- Activate the yeast by combining the yeast with lukewarm water for about 5 minutes. The mixture will become milky and bubbly.
- In a bread machine or stand mixer, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Turn on the bread machine / stand mixer, and slowly add the activated yeast and milk/water.
- When adding the milk/water, do it slowly and in batches.
- Slowly add the cooking oil and continue to knead the dough for about 10 to 15 minutes until a dough ball is formed.
- Pay close attention to the texture of the dough, if it’s hard, add a little more water/milk, if it’s too wet or the surface is sticky, add a little more flour. At the end you should see a smooth, soft, but non-sticky dough ball.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and side aside to rest. Depending on the room temperature, let the dough rest for 45 – 60 minutes or until the dough doubles the size.
- If the dough smells very sour, add a tiny portion of baking soda to reduce the sourness.
- Turn on the bread machine/ stand mixer once again and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth dough is formed.
- Place the dough on a flour-covered work station, cut the dough into two equal parts.
- Roll each half of the dough into a long log about 1.5 inch in diameter.
- Flatten the log using a rolling pin.
- Lightly brush some water on the flat dough.
- Starting from one side of the flat dough, roll the dough towards the other end to form a log.
- Remove the ends of the log and cut the remaining log into 4 equal pieces or the size of your choice.
- Repeat the previous 3 steps for the half of the dough.
- Place each piece in a wax-paper-covered steamer.
- Do not steam the dough right away, loosely cover the dough with a damped towel and let the dough rest and rise for about 30 minutes. The dough should become 1.5x the original size.
- Finally steam the dough over boiling water for 12 to 15 minutes.
- After you turn off the heat, keep the lid on for extra five minutes to prevent the buns from becoming saggy.
You could use milk instead of water if you want the buns to appear white.
Bun Stuffing Ingredients:
- 1.5lb ground pork (can use chicken, duck, beef, or lamb)
- ¼ cabbage
- 5 scallions
- 1 piece of fresh ginger (5 cm)
- 2tbsp soy sauce
- 2tbsp cooking oil
- 1tbsp sugar
- 1.5tbsp Chinese rice wine
- 1tsp five-spice powder
- 1 egg
- 1tsp sesame oil
- 2tsp ground white pepper
- Additional salt to taste
- While waiting for the dough to rise, start making the stuffing by chopping the scallions and ginger
- Chop the cabbage to the size of ½ of your pinky nail. Move the chopped cabbage to a mixing bowl
- Mix 1 tbsp of salt into the cabbage.
- Let sit for about 20 minutes or until cabbage has released some moisture
- Remove the cabbage liquid.
- Combine with the ground pork (or your meat of choice) in the same bowl.
- Add the chopped scallions and ginger to the pork and cabbage
- Mix in all the stuffing marinade ingredients to the pork except the cooking oil.
- Mix the stuffing using a spoon until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add additional salt to taste if needed
- Drip the cooking oil in the meat mixture and mix.
- Seal the stuffing with plastic wrapper and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (This can be done in advance)
- Once the dough is ready, transfer the dough to a flour-dusted workstation.
- Divide into 4 portions.
- Roll each portion into a log that’s about 1.5 inch in diameter
- Cut the log into 6 parts and shape each port into a ball.
- Make sure you coat the dough balls with a layer of flour.
- Press down the ball with your palm.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a round thin wrapper with 4 inch diameter. When rolling, make sure the center of the wrapper is thicker than the edge of the wrapper.
- Repeat this step to make a batch of 6 wrappers at a time
- To fold the bun, place 1 to 2 tbsp of the filling in the center of the wrapper.
- Try to stack up the filling so it’s at least 1 inch from the edge of the wrapper.
- Wrap the bun by folding the edge counterclockwise until the bun is completely sealed.
- Repeat these two steps to assemble the rest of the buns.
- Place the buns on a bamboo steamer with parchment in between to prevent sticking.
- Don’t steam your buns right away but instead let them sit for another 30 – 45 minutes. This is an important step in making the buns soft and fluffy. The buns will increase in size.
- Steam the buns for 12 to 15 minutes over high heat.
- Turn off the heat but do not open the steamer cover.
- Let them sit in the steamer for another 5 minutes before you take them out.
- Let them cool a little and serve hot as breakfast, snack, or appetizers