Monday, February 21, 2011

Steamed buns 包子

I was in the mood of some steamed buns. There have been more and more reports recently about healthy ways of cooking, and steaming is one of them. It says that the nutrients will be preserved better if steamed. This shouldn't be difficult for Chinese. There are a lot of Chinese dishes that are steamed and delicious, like the steamed buns.

All-purpose flour 3 1/2 cups
Warm water 3/4 to 4/5 cup (footnote 1)
Yeast 1/2 tsp
Sugar 1 1/2 Tsp
Vegetable oil 2 1/2 Tsp
A pinch of salt

1) Dissolve yeast in warm water (test with your finger). Let stand for 5 min.
2) Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Rub until the dough becomes smooth. (I use the bread machine, "dough" function.)
3) Let rise for 1 to 1.5 hrs or until the volume becomes twice as big.
4) Rub the dough until it becomes smooth again (remove the bubbles).
5) Divide the dough into 15 pieces. (If you have a food scale, each piece weights about 50 g.)
6) Roll it out into a round shape, about the size of your palm.
7) Put 3-4 Tsp of fillings inside the wrapper, and hold it with your left hand.
8) With your right hand, drag the edges to seal tight, going counter-clockwise. At the same time, turn your left hand clockwise to meet the action of your right hand. Gradually close the hole.
9) Line them up in the steamer. Steam them in boiling water for 12-15 min.

Ground pork (0.5 pound) (footnote 2)
Chinese cabbage (0.5 pound)
Shredded carrots (1/2 cup)
Shitake mushrooms (3-4)
Dried shrimp (1/2 cup) (optional)
Seasoned with 1 Tsp salt, 1 Tsp five-spices powder

1. You can also use spinach juice instead of water to add more nutrients (iron). Just use a few spinach, chop it up, add to the blender and some water. Blend and filter out the spinach.
2. You can make it vegetarian by omitting the meat. Just add more cabbage. Make sure to choose a kind of vegetable that's not too juice, or the filling gets too soggy.

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