Saturday, September 4, 2010

Steamed Buns

Here is the recipe for the Steamed Buns I made for my Birthday Feast.  Normally these are made with pork as Char Siu Bau at Yum Cha (Dim Sum).  As soon as I saw the recipe in my The Food of the World - A Journey for Food Lovers book, I knew I had to make them!  We just love going to Yum Cha and this is possibly my favourite dish, though there are so many yummy foods it is hard to choose a favourite.  I was very pleased that these worked so well and tasted just like the real thing.  I think they may become a regular item on our menu!  The dough does take some time to prepare, but once it is ready they are very easy to make and well worth it.

Basic Chinese Yeast Dough
3 tbsp Sugar
1 Cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
400g plain flour
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Place the water, sugar and oil in an electric mixer bowl.  Add flour, make a small well on top and add yeast.  Mix with dough hook attachment until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.  If you don't have an electric mixer you can mix with a wooden spoon, then knead dough on a lightly floured surface.  Lightly grease a bowl with some oil, place the dough in the bowl and turn it so that all sides are coated.  Cover with a cloth and set aside to rise in a draught free place for 3 hours.

Uncover the dough, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  If you are not ready to use the dough, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready.  When you are ready to use the it, flatten the dough and make a well in the center.  Place the baking powder in the well and gather up the edges to enclose the baking powder.  Pinch the edges to seal.  Lightly knead the dough for several minutes to evenly incorporate the baking powder.  It is not ready to use.

Red Bean Filling
1 tsp oil
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
3 button mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp sugar

Heat the oil in a wok or large frypan.  Add the beans and stir fry for about 3 minutes until the beans are soft and breaking up a little.  Add the onion, mushrooms and zucchini and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar, cook for a further minute, then leave to cool.

Steamed Buns
Divide the dough into 24 portions.  Press a portion into a circle and place 1-2 tsps of the red bean filling into the middle of the dough.  Fold the sides up to enclose the filling, pinching the top to seal them completely.  Repeat with remaining portions.  Place the buns well apart into a steamer.  Normally this would be done in a bamboo steamer over a wok but as we didn't have any, I just used a vegetable steamer insert over a saucepan of boiling water.  Steam the buns over simmering water for 15 minutes or until the buns are well risen and a skewer inserted into the center comes out hot.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Birthday Feast

For my Birthday this year, I decided to cook my own special Birthday feast!  As Teena and I both love going to Yum Cha, I wanted to try cooking some myself at home.  I'd found a recipe for Sweet Pork Buns in a book...  It looked easy enough and I wanted to try it as soon as I saw it, so this was a good opportunity to try it out.  So in the end I came up with the following menu:

Vegetarian Spring Rolls, Steamed Sweet Buns, Fried Rice and Hot and Honeyed Chicken Wings

The Vegetarian Spring Rolls were very tasty.  Teena doesn't usually like spring rolls, but she did like these one.  I found the recipe at  They were fairly easy to make, but I ended up using all the wrappers and still having a bowl full of vegetables and noodles left over.  We just fried that up for dinner though so it wasn't wasted.  We froze the leftover spring rolls and they cook up just fine after defrosting them.

The original recipe for these Sweet buns were with a pork filling. As Teena is 16 weeks pregnant, we are being careful with the food she is eating.  So I made the filling with red beans instead of pork.  I wasn't sure how these would turn out but I was hopeful as i really love these when we go to Yum Cha!  I'm happy to say they were delicious!  A bit involved as it takes a while to prepare the dough, but once that's done it was fairly easy.  They may not look so great in the picture, I should have taken one opened up...  But they do taste great, the bun is so sweet and soft, and the filling turned out great as well.  You can see the recipe for these here.

I also love fried rice.  This one was a little different then usual with some ginger and shredded Chinese cabbage in it.  It was nice but I prefer the type you get in a restaurant, something I've never really been able to recreate...

These chicken wings are so tasty!  It's really hard to stop eating them...  I've made them before though, so you can see the recipe here.

So needless to say, I had a good birthday :)
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