I tried making steamed buns last week. I don’t know exactly what was wrong with me…or the recipe, but the buns were dense and gummy. They tasted fine. But they were not good, and definitely not great. So I decided to try again. This time, I followed this bun recipe from Lucky Peach: http://luckypeach.com/recipes/momofuku-pork-buns/
My notes on the recipe:
1) At the end of the eight minutes using the kneading hook in the stand mixer, the dough was too wet. I had to add an additional 1/4 cup of flour to make the dough a dryer consistency, and kneaded it for another two minutes.
2) My dough did not double in size after an hour and fifteen minutes of resting/rising in the off oven (I’m not even sure it rose at all). After it rested for an hour and a half, I divided it in two, and kneaded each half for five minutes, for fear of having gummy steamed buns again. I don’t actually know if this did anything, but they turned out well.
3) Be sure to not over-roll the little balls when forming the 4″ long ovals. Four inches is large enough, and over-rolling will not create the lovely fluffy buns we expect. I accidentally rolled my first batch out too thin. My second batch came out much nicer.
4) I steamed them a little longer than 10 minutes. You can kind of tell by looking at them (or poking them) if they are done or need a little more time. They should be homogeneous in color, and slightly spongy to poke. I put six in each tray, and steamed them for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how much steam they were getting (since I just had my bamboo steamer precariously placed on a sauté pan. I should really get a Steaming Ring.)
And they turned out much better than my first attempt. Fluffy and flavorful.
MUSHROOM AND HOISON BUN:
During my last attempt at making steamed bun sandwiches, I made a filling that was mushrooms coated in a sauce that was actually too gloopy for these little sandwiches. It worked better over rice. Today, I made a much more simple mushroom bun with hoisin sauce, a quick pickled cucumber and scallions.
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs Shiitake Mushrooms, or mushrooms of choice. I used shiitake and oyster mushrooms.
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Prep mushrooms: remove shiitake stems, and
use a damp cloth to remove dirt. Chop if desired. Here, I left the caps in tact, and just cut them if they were quite large. Melt butter in sauté pan, and add mushrooms. Cook until browned. They will first release liquid, after the liquid has evaporated they will brown.
Once they brown, season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside, and keep warm.
QUICK PICKLE CUCUMBERS:
- 1 Medium Cucumber, sliced thinly
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- Sprinkle of Rice Vinegar
Place cucumbers in a bowl, toss with sugar, salt and rice vinegar. Let sit for ten minutes, and taste. Adjust accordingly.
TO ASSEMBLE MUSHROOM HOISON BUN:
- Steamed Buns
- Quick Pickle Cucumbers
- Scallions, chopped
- Hoisin Sauce
Spread hoisin sauce on bun. Add cucumber, and mushroom. Garnish with scallions. I drizzled the hoisin sauce on with a squeeze bottle, but that’s purely for aesthetics.
SESAME-ORANGE TOFU BUN:
The other bun that I made was a Sesame-Orange Tofu bun. I think it’s a good idea, the flavors were great, but the texture of the tofu wasn’t perfect. I’m sure it will be better next time.
For me, this blog isn’t necessarily finished perfect recipes, but a way to keep track of what I have done so that I can recreate something successful, or improve the next time I try to make a recipe. I assume that if it fails enough that I don’t want to even try it again, I won’t even bother writing about it. Failures definitely happen.
- 10 oz Orange Marmalade
- 4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- Sriracha to taste. Maybe 4 Tablespoons?
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
- A couple of pinches of Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Place everything in a small pot on medium heat and stir regularly until it begins to bubble, and reduce to a thickened sauce. Taste and alter as necessary.
- 1 Package Firm or Extra Firm Tofu
- 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Cornstarch (to coat tofu)
Press tofu between two plates for 20 minutes to draw out liquid. Cut into 3″ x 1/2″ pieces and place on paper towels to draw out more liquid.
Here I tossed the tofu with corn starch, coated them in cooking spray and baked them at 350 degrees until they were lightly brown (and in this instance, I think they ended up getting too dried out). They’ve come out better when I’ve pan fried them, or instead of coating them in corn starch, tossed them in oil, salt and pepper and bake them for 10 or so minutes on each side. I was also using an unfamiliar brand of Tofu. I will experiment some time and let you know what I think works best.
Transfer tofu to a baking dish, and pour the orange glaze on. Put it back in the oven to keep it warm. But the tofu got chewy and gummy. The texture might have been better if I applied the glaze to the bun separately from the tofu (or if I hadn’t gotten the tofu so dry and starchy in the previous step).
With a softer texture, this would be great on a bun, and it would also be delicious over rice.
TO ASSEMBLE SESAME-ORANGE TOFU BUN:
- Steamed Buns
- Orange Glazed Tofu
- Toasted Sesame Seeds
- Scallions, chopped
Place piece of tofu on bun, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and scallions.
Idea to try next time: Battered and fried daikon with chipotle aioli and scallions.