Even with a little time off I can’t seem to get it together enough to update the blog before Christmas. Oh well, these things.
While I generally don’t eat meat these days, I haven’t given it up entirely because I’m a fussy eater and I like options. This means that every now and then, Bob gets a meat dish at home because I really want to try to make something. This week that was steam buns. My Asian market didn’t have the buns when I went to look for them. I looked in every section, on every shelf, in the freezer section, in the chilled shelves, etc. Nothing. No steam buns. None of those delicate pockets of goodness waiting to be filled. I did find steam bun flour, so I picked up that and decided to try my hand at making my own.
The package directions were … unusual to say the least and not entirely written in English. To combat this, I also scoured the web to see if I could find a good set of directions for making steam buns and found one recipe that looked easy enough to follow. I didn’t follow either the package directions (such that I could make them out) or the BBC recipe exactly, but sort of combined them to come up with a dough that looked right.
Complicating my desire to make steam buns at home – I don’t own a steamer. I thought about baking them, I thought about trying to steam them in the oven, but in the end I came up with a method to steam them that actually worked. It’s my soup pot (or pasta pot or whatever – my large pot) with a thing I use to cook vegetables on the grill and a large glass lid. Much to my surprise, this actually worked!
For the filling, I went traditional – kind of. I had made pulled pork a while back when we had Mom and Dad over for lunch, and I still had half of that in the freezer. I went with a basic hoisin/soy sauce combination for the meat and did a quick pickle on some vegetables – red onion, carrots and cucumber. Quick pickle the vegetables, heat the pork with the sauce and add to the home made steam buns.
The verdict? The buns themselves were really close to the package ones, but definitely not as pretty. I also need to alter the recipe a little, such as using water instead of soy milk, and I may try the regular flour with yeast version. For the filling, I liked the sauce, but I need a little less meat for the amount of sauce I made (I used half of the pork I had in the freezer). So, it tasted good, but I wanted more sauce. It is all about the sauce. The quick picked vegetables were perfect – crisp, tangy and really well balanced with the buns and the meat. This was a really good first attempt, but something that I do need to alter, just a little, to get exactly right.
You can tell which are mine and which are Bob’s by the ratio of pork to vegetables in these. I have a little pork with a lot of vegetables while he has more pork and fewer vegetables. I’m thinking of using some of the leftover General Tso’s tofu that I made Christmas night (yes, we had homemade Chinese for Christmas dinner) as my filling for lunch today and leave Bob with the pork.
I am going to wait to post the steam bun recipe itself until I can perfect it, but the sauce is pretty simple:
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
For the quick picked vegetables I used:
- 1 tablespoon mild vinegar (rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- pinch of salt
Mix well until sugar and salt are fairly well dissolved. Add vegetables (I did these as separate) and mix to coat. Chill for about ten to fifteen minutes.