For things not starting off well, they came out pretty close to how my MIL makes them!
First, it's okay to use chicken or beef, but I really wanted to do pork. So I was a little disappointed to get home from the FM and find that I had been given ground beef instead. Also, the dough was extremely sticky, not to mention much less white than my MIL's comes out. I swear I wasn't trying to "healthify" it, I didn't use my usual whole wheat flour, I used all purpose. It also didn't help that my wok was a little too dinky for the awesome bamboo steamer I had. But, I remedied that pretty skillfully, I think.
Before I share the recipe, I want you to see what I was working with... crazy metric system.
Steamed Pork (or Chicken, or Beef) Buns
First, knead these ingredients together and let rise 2-3 hrs (2 works just fine)
- 1 cup All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp active dry yeast (I added about 1 Tbsp of sugar to help the little guys out, no idea if that hurt/helped)
- 1 to 1-1/4 cup all purpose flour (I give a range because my dough was super sticky, so I added a little more as I rolled them into balls)
- 1/2 cup sugar (minus the Tbsp added earlier)
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp "rice vinegar" (I used white wine vinegar and it seemed to work fine)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
At this point you should get your steamer ready. You have a few choices: you can boil water in a covered wok to later put your bamboo steamer in, you can buy a stove-top stainless steel steamer, or next time I'm going to see if my Food Network electric multilevel food steamer will work.
One at a time, flatten a ball of dough (I covered my hands with flour to prevent sticking). Place prepared meat in middle and pull edges of dough up like a purse to the top. Pinch the pucker so that it is sealed. BE CAREFUL NOT TO MAKE DOUGH TOO THIN! Unfortunately, quite a few of my meat centers fell out the bottom of the dough when I took them out of the steamer.
Place each bun on square of wax paper (Again, I was missing this, so I liberally sprayed the steamer with Pam and plopped each bun in some flour before placing it in the steamer... it didn't stop all leakage, but it wasn't so bad.)
Place in steamer basket with at least 1 inch between them. Cover and cook 12-20 minutes (I had to check the meat at 15min and it was still pretty red).
Innovative way to keep steam in when you have a dinky wok and huge steamer:
EDIT: USE THE WAX PAPER!!! I just spent 15 minutes trying to get sticky dough from between the wooden planks... not worth it! Would have rather made a 10 minute run to the store for it... You've Been Warned!!