For a lot of Asians, Chinese-style steamed buns are something we grew up with. The combination of lightly sweet steamed bread and savoury filling works really well. For us, the dough must be white, soft and fluffy. The fillings can be anything although it seems that cha siu pork is the most popular version here in the West.
The version I make today is a lot lighter and delicate with the use of chicken alongside with other Asian ingredients like dried mushrooms, spring onions, sesame oil & ginger. I particularly like the use of ginger here, giving a lift of flavours to the overall taste.
To make these buns, I have opted to use a shortcut in making the dough. To make real good buns, pau flour, which is highly bleached flour, should be used to achieve the desired white color and soft texture. It is impossible to get it here, so I have used the ready mix steamed bun package instead (see photo). This should be available at Asian shops. It contains all the necessary ingredients for the dough, and you just need to add water and some sugar. I am quite happy with the end result using this mix.
Shaping steamed buns is the skill I am yet to master. But I find this video on youtube extremely helpful. Hopefully it will give you an idea, too!
These buns would be perfect with some fresh home-made soy milk. Or, if you prefer, hot tea is good, too…
Chicken Steamed Buns
Ingredients (for 12 small buns):
The Dough: Use the package shown above. Follow package instructions, but reduce the amount of sugar from 1/2cup to ¼ cup.
The Filling (inspired from this book)
300g (10oz) boneless chicken thigh, diced
8 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft, stems removed and discarded, caps diced
2 spring onions, minced
1 tbsp freshly minced ginger root
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
1 ½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp vegetable oil
A pinch of chicken stock powder (optional)
- Prepare the dough and set aside
- Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Form into 12 balls, and refrigerate for ½ hour.
- Cut 12 square pieces, each about 5cm across.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. On a floured surface, using a rolling pin to form each piece into a thin circle. Make sure that the center is thicker than the edge. Place one ball of chicken filling into the circle. Gather the edges to the middle to enclose the filling. Then pinch the top to seal and twist slightly. Place the bun with pinched side up on a square piece of baking paper. Repeat with the rest.
- Steamed the buns for 15 mins or until cooked through. Serve hot.