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Chinese steamed buns

July 7, 2010

As promised, I am posting my updates on the steamed buns my mom (and I) made for people coming over for lunch. We spent three hours in the morning preparing and cooking the food, and had quite the feast!

We stir fried fresh green beans with garlic and soaked dried shrimp. You know your green beans are fresh when they snap in two easily and sturdily rather than them bending easily as you try to snap them into smaller pieces. Also, it helps the green bean retain some flavor from the stir frying if you blanch them for a few minutes beforehand.

We also had steamed fish with pickled vegetable. It was extremely soft and had a silky texture. My mom picked it up from Chinatown the day before for $7.99 a pound! I’m not sure what type of fish it was though.

My mom also prepared some chicken feet that could be comparable to the dim sum item, phoenix talons. However, the way my mom cooked it was not through deep frying and steaming, but through boiling with an array of Chinese spices, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, and sugar. Every time she makes these, her friends ask her for some. They are really delicious, especially the sauce when it cools in the fridge into jelly! Yum!

Now, here is the part dedicated to the baozi, or Chinese steamed buns. I can’t really give out a recipe since my mom just eyeballs everything, but for certain there is flour, water, yeast, sugar, and oil in the dough. Usually we leave it alone for an hour to rise.

The filling was prepared the day before, with ground pork marinating in unknown amounts of soy sauce and sugar.

After the dough finished rising, my mom rolled out the dough into logs and cut them with a knife. She then rolled them out with the rolling pin into circles and placed filling in the center to wrap.

Then how one would construct the baozi is by firmly pinching two close points of the circular dough together and continue pinching parts of the dough toward that point until it results in a little twist-like shape. We generally like to lay out the finished dough products on paper towels since it makes cleanup easy.

Steaming time depends on how big the baozi are and how long we let the dough sit (the shorter the sit time, the bigger it’s going to get while steamed). But generally we let them steam for about 30 minutes. We like to eat them hot because the dough is very nice and fluffy! My mom’s friends also like to request these when they’re made fresh from our kitchen.

We also made regular steamed dough buns without filling, called mantou, with the leftover dough. They turned out extremely fluffy and delicious, but I didn’t get a picture with them cooked. What we’ve also done with the dough in the past is to fry a flat piece of it in the wok with some green onion, what we would call a bing. Both the mantou and bing are common breakfast items people would have in China.

Sometimes people eat steamed buns with either pork or vegetable filling for breakfast too, but these items are more time-consuming to make, so the mantou and the bing are more commonly sold among street vendors.

My mom also prepared some other dishes, such as Chinese broccoli with wood ear mushroom and tofu skin with assorted vegetables, but I would like to share the recipes for those at another time. I wish I had a more exact recipe for the steamed buns, but my mom eyeballed everything, so I don’t have much except for the ingredient list. However, I will perhaps try to make them myself in the future, and will be experimenting to see what measurements come out the most delicious. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy perusing through the pictures of our delicious lunch, which will of course last us the next week!

Dai Dai

One Comment
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