Sunday, 13 January 2013

Steamed Bun with Pork & Long Beans
猪肉长豆角馅儿发面包子


Singapore is commonly known as "Food Paradise". There are wide varieties of tantalising food to satiate appetites of people from different races and cultures.  As a typical northeastern Chinese, steamed buns (包子) and dumplings (饺子) are part of our main diets.  Having stayed in Singapore for the past 15 years, if I were to rank the dumplings/steamed buns I tasted here in hawker centres , food courts and restaurants, I would say, No.1 is the soup dumplings or xiao long bao (小笼包) from Din Tai Fung.  No.2 is my homemade Chinese dumplings and steamed buns.
   

Making dumplings and steamed buns at home is a fun activity, which involves everyone in the family. Sitting around a floured kneading board, one person makes the skins, and the rest wrap the dumplings/buns. Rolling out the skins requires not only skill but also strength. The person has to roll the rolling pin in a steady speed so as to supply to 3-4 persons, who wrap the dumplings/buns. If tired, another person would take over.  Time passes very fast in such occasion, and in a blink of an eye, steaming hot dumplings/buns are served...

Long beans and minced pork are one of the common fillings in steamed buns in my family. Long beans are chosen as they can withstand steam. After 30-40 mins of steaming, the crunchy long beans become tender,  and well blended with the seasoned minced pork. The fillings are juicy and chewy, together with the soft skin, steamed buns are so scrumptious that make you keep eating!


STEAMED BUN WITH PORK & LONG BEANS

INGREDIENTS
(makes 32 steamed buns)

Dough
- 800g plain flour
- 8g dry yeast
- 2 cups of water

Fillings
- 500g long beans
- 500g minced pork meat
- 60g ginger, finely chopped
- 1 big scallion (leave out the green top, white portion finely chopped)

Seasonings:
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (boiled and cool)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons 5-spices powder
- 1 tablespoon light soybean source


DIRECTIONS

Making Dough & Skins:
  1. In a large bowl, add flour and yeast.  Mix well with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Slowly add water in, and knead with hands until form a smooth ball.
  2. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave to proof in a warm area for 45mins.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl . With lightly floured hands, gently give a few light kneading to press out the gas. Divide dough into 3 portions. Leave to proof for 10 mins.
  4. Roll each dough into a long roll and cut into small cylinder pieces, about 40g each. Flatten each piece and roll out to a circle (2-3mm in thickness) with a rolling pin.
Making Fillings:
  1. Prepare a medium wok. Add few cups of water and a teaspoon of salt and bring to boil .
  2. Add the long beans into the boiling water, lightly stir for 3 minutes. Drain, and cool aside.
  3. Cut the long beans into small pieces, lightly squeeze out the excess water with hands. Put aside.

  4. Sprinkle the seasonings one by one onto the minced meat. Mix well with a pair of chopsticks. Let seasoned for 30 minutes.
  5. Put chopped long beans onto the seasoned minced meat, mix them together until just combined.
Wrapping Buns:
  1. Take one skin, put on your left palm, add 40g fillings in the centre of the skin. Gather a small fold of the skin, pinch the fold onto its neighbouring skin, and turn the bun sightly. Keep folding and pinching while turning,  until the bun is sealed.


  2. Put the buns on a floured surface. Leave to proof for 20 minutes (unlike bread, the size of the bun won't double).

Steaming Buns
  1. Add a few cups of water in a medium wok with stainless steel steam-plate(s). Cover the steam-plate with clean damp cloth.
  2. Transfer buns onto the steam plate and leave 1-2 inches apart. Cover wok with lid.
  3. Over high heat, bring water to boil. Reduce to medium heat, continue heating for about 15 minutes.
  4. Heat off. Leave for 3 minutes or until steam subsides before remove the lid. This is to prevent the buns shrink.
  5. Remove the buns. Continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked.
  6. Serve warm.

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