Sunday, 12 February 2012

Steamed buns with yambean filling

I've never been a fan of buns with sweet fillings and I have to politely decline whenever the likes of custard buns, red bean buns or tau sar buns are served at the end of meals.  Savoury buns, now that's another matter altogether.  Having tried my hand at the sweet potato buns the last time, I ventured to savoury filled buns.  These are filled with fried yambean or "bangkuang char".  Think of buns, filled to bursting with vegetables instead of the usual char siew.  There's also the contrast in textures - starting off with the soft fluffy bun, and then biting into the savoury vegetables.  This is a very wholesome snack in itself, and wholly vegetarian if you omit the pork slices in the fried yam bean.  It's also a great way to use any leftover fried yam bean from dinner.  Unless you are planning to feed an army, you don't really need very much fried yam bean.

I shaped them into buns.  Easy-peasy shapes.  Actually, I haven't mastered the pau folding technique, that's why :D

I also used the no-mess method - the trusty bread-maker for the kneading.  You can knead by hand too if you prefer; just takes a little more elbow grease.  This simple recipe is just that - simple.  It was a success the 1st try. The buns steam out like fluffy pillowy clouds, so if that's your cup of oolong then read on...

Recipe : adapted from Corner Cafe by Sea Dragon
Makes approximately 15 steamed buns

A.  Pau dough:
200ml lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups (375g) pau flour
1 1/2 teaspoons double-action baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons oil
Baking paper for base

B.  Filling:
Fried yam bean - click here for recipe in my previous post

Method :
1. Cut baking paper into 4 inch squares and set aside.
2. In breadmaker, pour in the water, then add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and yeast.  Put into dough mode and start cycle. 
3. After about 10 minutes,dough should be incorporated and coming together.  Pour in the oil bit by bit and continue kneading.  Knead in oil until incorporated. Dough should be smooth, elastic and pliable.  Remove from bread maker.
4. Form the dough into a round ball, in a large covered bowl.  Place in a warm area and let rise until double in size - approximately 1 hour.
5. Punch down, knead briefly and form into a rough log shape. Then divide the dough into 40g each. Form each piece into balls and let rest for 15 minutes, covered loosely with damp tea towel.
6. Roll each ball out into a circle, and fill with a tablespoon of fried yam bean.  Gather the sides up like a parcel and seal by pinching the edges together.   Place each bun on a piece of the prepared baking paper squares. 
7.  Cover the buns loosely with a damp tea towel, and let rise for about 30 minutes. 
8. Steam the buns for about 10-15 minutes.
9. May be stored frozen.  Thaw before using.  For best results, reheat by steaming. 

before sealing the bun
2nd proofing

Notes :
You can use plain white flour instead of pau flour.  The buns will have a yellower tinge.
Double action baking powder works once upon contact with water, and the second time upon contact with heat.  That's how the buns steam up fluffy and soft.  The yeast and baking powder work hand in hand will ensure maximum leavening.
Don't get greedy and over stuff the buns.  Trust me, it will burst.
Using a bamboo steamer gives the best results as it prevents water droplets from condensing onto buns and making them wet.

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