Hot & Steamy Chinese Adventure Round Up!

Chicago has gotten quite a bit of rain the whole weekend so it definitely was a perfect day to spend in the kitchen with friends. For my culinary adventure today, friends came over to learn how to make Chinese Steamed Buns and stuffed them with an assortment of fillings.

You will need the following to make the steamed buns:
Your preferred fillings
Prepared steamed bun dough
Extra flour for dusting your hands/fingers
Several 2″ x 2″ squares of parchment or wax paper
Bamboo or metal steamer
Wok or large stock pot with boiling water

Steamed buns are traditional made with a yeast dough and filled with tasty meat and/or vegetable combinations. For my event I offered 5 different fillings I made from scratch including:

Steamed Buns Dough
Now I have a confession. I’m not too fond of working with yeast… and although the traditional recipes for Chinese Steamed Buns use yeast, you can imagine how thrilled I was to find a recipe that doesn’t call for it at all! The following is the adapted recipe I used, taken from the book, Dim Sum: Delicious Finger Food for Parties by Fiona Smith.
Steamed Buns Fluffy Dough

1.5 cups of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cold water

In a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, salt & baking powder until fully combined.
Slowly add the remaining ingredients and allow the dough hook to bring the dough together.
Allow the dough hook to knead the dough for 1-3 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
In a large bowl, sprayed with cooking spray (to prevent sticking), place the dough and cover with a damp cloth.
Allow dough to sit for 1 hour before using.

Making Steamed Buns
Once you have the fillings and dough ready… and you’ve got a pot of water ready for steaming, then the fun can begin! To begin filling and making steamed buns, dust your hands with flour and stir in 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the dough before working with it.

Take a ball of dough about the size of a tennis ball in your hands. Work the dough to create a log about 1 inch thick and about 4-6 inches long.

Once you have your log, break off a piece about an inch long. Roll this in your hands to form a small ball. Flatten this ball in your palms and work to stretch it out into a disc, about 1/4 inch thick. You’ll notice the dough is very elastic and if needed, use flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers/hands.

In the middle of your disc of dough, add 1 teaspoon of your preferred filling. Pull the edges up to create a pouch and pinch the dough to fully enclose the filling in dough.

Place your steamed bun on a square of parchment or wax paper. Continue repeating the steps until you’ve used up all your dough.

Steaming the Buns

I gave everyone of my friends a bamboo steamer for them to cook their steamed buns in. You can find these at your local Asian market or housewares store, such as Bed Bath & Beyond and event Walmart/Target. They are pretty affordable and are great to use for other items like vegetables, lean meats (such as fish, chicken, shrimp), fruits, dumplings… the versatility of this tool is endless! It really is a wonderful way to cook healthy too.

Once you have your buns formed and are placed on the parchment/wax paper, carefully put the buns in your steamer basket: Have your large pot or wok filled with enough water to get it boiling. You don’t want the water level to boil up into the bottom of your steamer… just below it (we want to steam the buns, not boil them in water!). Place your steamer in your prepared pot and cover. Here’s a funny picture of our Bamboo Steamer Towers both in my 21 quart stock pot and wok:Allow your buns to steam for about 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind, they may look small, but they will puff up and expand while it steams. They will be done when the dough gets a nice sheen to them and is no longer doughy.

Once they are done, enjoy these fluffy savory pillows of goodness!

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted Chinese inspired recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Brooke of Victuals & Libations !

Brooke will be receiving Chinese Five Spice Powder and Crystallized Ginger, compliments of Chicago’s Spice House! Hopefully these ingredients will inspire Brooke to make more Chinese inspired recipes! Congratulations Brooke and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Ohio
Mu Shu Brat Bites
Becke joins us with a creative twist on a grilled favorite – brats! It’s a Chinese inspired take on bratwurst which makes it quite interesting. For Becke’s thoughts and ways she would adapt the recipe for next time, check out her blog!
Brooke of Victuals & Libations
from Ohio
Chicken & Cashew Stirfry
Brooke joins us for the first time with her dish, Chicken & Cashew Stirfry. It’s chock full of various veggies and its pretty versatile too. To find out what veggies Brooke made her dish with, check out her blog for the recipe!
Cassie of Cassie’s Ruminations
from Washington State
Teriyaki Chicken Bowls
Cassie joins us to share her Teriyaki Chicken Bowls. What I love about this dish is that it uses chicken thighs, probably the most flavorful cut of chicken there is! It also uses a great alcoholic drink you can sip while cooking. To find out what that drink is and for the recipe, check out Cassie’s blog!

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