My brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life.

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Steamed Buns

Posted on March 10, 2010 by crankycheryl

How often does life remind you of the old New Yorker cartoon of the man sitting at his desk, looking at his calendar and saying “How about never?  Is never good for you?” into his phone?  This is how it feels to try to schedule dumpling-tasting events.  And I do intend to schedule them, because I will honor my pledge to try every dumpling in Burlington in 2010 … no matter how the itineraries of the world try to foil me.

And while I’ve been working to get our next event on the calendar, I thought I’d give steamed buns a try.    The ones we had at Joyce’s were just so very delicious, kind of uber-dumplings, really.  I got a look at a couple of recipes and gave it a whirl.

I almost always find the recipes over at About.com reliable, so I used theirs for the dough.

Then I came across Joyce’s filling recipe, which she had sent me after our visit there:

Mix together in a medium bowl:

  • 1/2 lb minced pork meat
  • 1 c. finely chopped Chinese Napa cabbage
  • 4 scallions, cut into small rounds
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 t. soy sauce
  • 1 t. sesame oil
  • 2 t. chopped fresh garlic (not in Joyce’s recipe, but I felt compelled to put it in)

I found the dough nice to work with by hand, so I skipped the rolling pin and flattened each small piece into discs by hand on a floured cutting board and then placed a spoonful of the topping on each.  (Start with a teaspoonful and work from there.  You won’t get good coverage if you overstuff so err on the stingy side.)  Fold over two opposite sides to meet in the middle and pinch together.   The dough should be sticky enough that it sticks easily; if not, place a little bit of cold water in a small bowl and put a small dab along the edges of the dough.

Pick up the bun, and pinch the open sides together, squeezing all around to make sure you have it well sealed.

Repeat for the remaining dough and filling, keeping the finished ones on a plate or cutting board that’s well-floured.  When all are formed, start water boiling in a steamer.  I am the lucky recent recipient of a big-ass Chinese steamer, but you can use any steamer-insert pot or insert in a pot as long as it’s nice and level.

When the water reaches a boil, line the steamer with cabbage leaves to prevent the buns from sticking.  Don’t use purple cabbage, which will turn your buns blue, and obliterate any chance of your seven-year old trying the buns.

Steam for about 25 minutes.  Don’t peek early and release the nice heat and steam that will have built up.  The buns will be nicely puffed up and the meat will be cooked through when done.

To serve, cut a little slit in the top of each bun, and drizzle a tiny bit of:

  • white or rice vinegar
  • soy sauce in each.

And I don’t mean to brag, and it may be unrelated, but two days after 4-year old Z. polished off 5 of these, he presented me  with a World’s Best Cooker trophy made of an empty play-do container and a crayon.   Give ’em a whirl and let me know how it goes in your house.

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    Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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