Steamed buns with azuki bean past

Is there anything more welcoming than a Chinese steamed bun? Oh-so-fluffy, slightly chewy, piping hot with sweet adzuki bean paste filling waiting in the middle… my mouth is watering just thinking about it! These buns were my first foray into the world of working with yeast and it was quite time consuming, considering that I had some problems with letting the dough rise. But the effort was well worth it — they came out pretty darn tasty. My rolling out and folding techniques, however, leave much to be desired…

I’m definitely making these again but next time, I might try the store bought bean paste. There’s something about the excessive amount of sugar in and smoothness of the prepackaged stuff that’s very appealing to me.

Peeping out from under the towel and getting ready for their sauna treatment.

15 minutes in the steamer yields these beautiful babies.

Sweet, sweet carbohydrates. Mmm — I could nosh on these for days.

Adzuki Red Bean Paste
From Vanilla Garlic

1 1/4 c red beans
3/4 c sugar
2 tbsps vegetable oil

1) Place the beans in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit overnight in the fridge.
2) Rinse the beans and place in a pot with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until most of the liquid is gone. Make sure you keep an eye on it and stir it constantly towards the end or else the beans might burn.
3) Puree the beans in a food processor or blender if you want a smoother texture.
4) Heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the sugar and bean puree and stir with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and let cool before use.

Steamed bun/baozi dough
From Just Hungry

400g (a little more than 3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 packet (2¼ tsps) active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
220ml (a little less than 1 cup) warm water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
extra flour for rolling out

1.) Activate the yeast in a small bowl with ¼ cup of warm water at about 105-115 F. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until you notice a sufficient amount of froth on the surface.
2.) In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the yeast and warm water and begin to mix, adding the rest of the water slowly as you mix. The dough should be “shaggy”.
3.) Add the oil and knead the dough until it’s smooth. Form into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise to about 2½ times its original size. It should take a couple of hours (or… about 4 for me, because I obviously fudged up something.)
4.) Punch down the dough and on a well-floured surface, roll the dough out into a snake and cut it into 15-20 pieces, depending on how large you want your buns to be. Roll each piece into a smooth round, dust with a little bit of flour, and let these rest again for 15 minutes under a damp cloth. While you’re waiting, cut out squares of parchment papers to put the buns on — these guys are sticky.
5.) Flour your working surface and rolling pin. Flatten the dough ball into 3½ inch circles, making sure that the center is thicker than the edges. Place about 1 tbsp of the cooled bean paste into the center — try not to overfill!
6.) (I apologize for the lack of pictures.) Grab a size and start pleating, finishing with a pinch of all the edges and a twist. Place each bun on a square of parchment paper.
7.) Let them rest under a damp towel for about 10 minutes before putting them in the steamer for about 15 minutes, or until the surface looks shiny and the dough springs back up after you press it.

Although these are still tasty the next day, they’re definitely the best right out of the steamer!


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