Words can not describe the yumminess of these bite sized buns. And this is one of those dishes that I thought was incredibly difficult. But I assure you, although it may be time consuming, it really is quite simple.
Originally from Shanghai, the dough is made with yeast and we all know how lovely yeasty breads can be. And together with the pork filling is simply delicious.
I made these as my potluck contribution to the NYE's party we attended. I also made some toasted honey pecans with sesame seeds. Basically this recipe but with pecans.
May 2010 was the month and year that started my obsession with all things food
As I sat quietly and reflected back on the past year....
I suggest you prepare the yeast dough first. And do not be intimidated by the ingredients list and directions. It really is quite simple. Just a bit time consuming.
Pork & Scallion Filling
Courtesy of Asian Dumplings
10 ozs Fatty Ground Pork, coarsely chopped or loosen with fingers
2 tsp Finely Minced Fresh Ginger
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Scallions, white & green parts (about 3 scallions)
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp White Pepper
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Rice Wine
2 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Water
*Yields 32 small buns
Basic Yeast Dough
1-1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup LukeWarm Water
2 tbsp Canola Oil
2 tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
12-1/2 oz or 2-1/2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1. Put the yeast in a small bowl and add the warm water and allow to sit for 1 minute. Whisk in the oil and dissolve completely. Set aside.
2. Combine the sugar, baking powder, and flour in your food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Keep the processor running and add the yeast mixture through the feed tube in a steady stream and allow to process for about 20 seconds or until the dough starts to form a ball (add a bit more water if your dough does not form) knead the dough in the processor for about a minute to allow most of the dough to gather together.
Press down on the dough. It should feel soft and should not stick to your fingers. If the dough seems a bit wet, simply add more flour and knead until the dough is manageable. Take a lightly oiled bowl and place the dough and cover and allow to rise in a draft free area for 45 minutes. I placed my covered dough in the oven. Use right away.
If you're not using the dough right away. Tightly wrap the dough and place in the refrigerator. When you're ready to use the dough, allow the dough to come to room temperature.
Make the pork & scallion filling...
1. Either coarsely chop or break apart the ground pork meat to loosen up the meat. Add the ginger and scallions, mix well using your hands.
Combine the salt, white pepper, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and water in a small bowl, stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the pork and scallions, mix well. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes at room temperature if you're making the buns right away. Or place in the refrigerator overnight and allow to reach room temperature before using.
Prepare your dough...
1. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work area. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten to a thick disk. Cut the disk in half and cover on half by placing a bowl or lid over the dough so that it prevents drying.
2. Roll the dough into a 1/2 to 1/4 inch log and cut into 16 pieces. Its best to cut the log in half to make even size pieces. Lightly roll each piece into a ball and flatten to a 1/4 inch disk.
3. I used a fondant rolling pin with the pink guard and rolled out the pieces to 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Keep the rim of each circle thinner and the middle a bit thicker. Sprinkle with flour to keep from sticking.
Prepare a lined baking sheet dusted with flour to place your buns on.
4. A) Hold the dough circle in a slightly cupped hand and add about 2 teaspoons of the pork & scallion filling. Keeping about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the dough clear around the edges.
B) Begin pleating. Using your thumb and index finger gently pull the edges toward the middle creating pleats.
C) Once you have reached the last pleat, fold over pinch together and gently press to seal. Place the bun pleat side down on the baking sheet. Repeat until you have used up all the pork filling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 30 minutes or until 50% larger than their original size.
While the buns are rising make your dipping sauce...
1. Take 1 tbsp of finely minced fresh ginger, 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, 1-2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp grape seed oil & 2 tsp sugar, whisk well. Add a bit of water the sauce is too salty or vinegary. Taste as you go.
Preheat your cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of canola oil for a medium skillet and a 1/2 tbsp more for a larger skillet. Add the buns pleated side up 1/2 inch a part, the buns will expand while they're cooking. Fry for about 1 to 2 minutes or until they are golden or light brown. Gently lift to check the color. Flip the buns allow to brown on the other side. While holding the lid over the buns, add enough water to the skillet about 1/4 cup. Cover lightly with a lid or aluminum foil allowing the steam to escape. Allow the water to bubble away, about 5 minutes. Checking to see that the buns do not burn.
When you hear sizzling, remove the lid. Allow the buns to fry for about 1 more minute until bottoms are brown and crisp. You may flip and brown the other side as well.
Reheat leftovers with a bit of oil and water in a non stick skillet on medium heat. But I have a feeling that these lil treats will pretty much disappear right before your eyes.
I urge you to try making these at home. They'll for sure be a family favorite. I promise. Enjoy!