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Monday, April 4, 2011

水煎包 steam fried meat buns

Go on! Eat me ! I taste better than I look.

After seeing one of the bloggers romp the food streets of Taiwan, I felt an indescribable hunger pang and yearned for lots and lots of steam fried meat buns, a popular street snack thanks to the many Shanghai migrants in Taiwan.

It also reminds me of the many years I spent working in Taiwan where my dinner would be this bun and a few other favorites. It had been more than a year since my last visit to Taiwan and until I go there again, I have to stave off my maniac urge with this homemade version.

The soft fluffy bun exudes a delicate sweetness amidst its  gingery  fragrance. The juice of meat and vegetables flavored the inner walls of the bun while the crispiness of the outer layer offers two different pleasurable sensations in a single bite. I  can vaguely describe it as 'euphoric' - because that was how hubby looked :-)

Hubby wolfed down a couple at dinner and congratulated himself with the foresight of having gone for a jog  just before this.  For the rest of us who are more sedate, we have to exercise extreme self control that dinner !

A meal on a bun

Makes 12 meat buns.

Dough :
250g plain flour, sifted
10g sugar
3g instant yeast
135g tepid water
10g castor sugar
10g canola oil

Meat filling :
500g minced pork
1/2 cup finely minced carrot
200g chopped cabbage / bamboo shoots / chives
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 T sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 T corn flour
1 t salt
1 t pepper

Method ( prepare the dough ):
Blend the flour and sugar. In a separate container, whisk the yeast and water.
Create a hollow in the center of the flour mixture. Add oil and  yeast-water mix  .
Stir with a pair of chopstick until the liquid is absorbed by the dry ingredients and the dough starts to clump together.
Knead lightly in the mixing bowl by hand, 2 minutes.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured worktop and continue to knead, lightly until the dough is smooth.
Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the meat fillings and combine well. Set aside.

Again back to the dough, knead the dough into a rope.
Cut it into 12 portions and roll them into little balls.
Leave them on the worktop and cover to rest for 5 more minutes.

Wrapping the buns :

Divide the meat into 12 portions.
On a floured surface, make round discs out of each individual dough balls, the size of your entire palm.
I find it easiest using a long rolling pin. Pivoting one end of the roller slightly higher, I apply a slight pressure on the edge of part of the disc, effectively creating a disc with thinner edge and a slightly thicker center.  This action also causes the disc to rotate by itself about the center.
Place the meat on the center of the disc.
Gather the edge of the disc in a systematic manner and seal  the bun by twisting the gathered edges .
Place the sealed bun, seal side down on a floured serving board and rest for another 5 minutes.

Cooking the bun :

Heat up a lightly oiled teppanyaki pan. 
Use a flat pastry cutter and transfer the buns to the pan.
Arrange the buns in a circular manner, leaving ample space between since the buns will expand and stick to each other if they are too close.
Pour a cup of  very hot water in the center of the very hot pan such that the 1/4 of the ( height ) buns are submerged. This ensures the meat are sufficiently cooked by partial steaming.
Cover the pan and cook until the water is near dry, about 5 minutes. Do not refill with  more water.
Remove pot cover and continue to cook the buns until the sealed bottom form a crust.
Flip over the buns and pan fry the top of the buns until browned.

Serve with the smooth side up with sweet sour tofu soup or any thick soup.

1 comment:

  1. Hi TEC,

    I'm Reinnie from Penang.Your meat buns look absolutely yummy. Gosh! I'm salivating here.

    It reminds me of the Chai Kueh that we have here in Penang. It's also steamed but the filling is mostly vegetable and dried shrimps. I've taken it once at Simpang Ampat made by some aunties there many years ago. It looks so much like your meat buns. It was so delicious that I finished 5 pcs in one sitting. After that I was so full that I had to skip dinner. Now looking at your meat buns made me reminise about that Chai Kueh at Simpang Ampat. Unfortunately, it's a lost art because no one I know in Penang can make it anymore. Sigh!

    Anyway, I'm saving your recipe in my to do list.