Friday, April 10, 2009

If Yan Can Cook..

My dad is a transplantation immunologist with a masters in veterinary science and a PhD in embryology. Unfortunately he is also as stubborn as all hell and despite acting totally cool when I came out to him a few years ago, he's one of those old-fashioned guys who don't believe in this new-fangled idea of using recipes to create a better product.

Prime example #1 - steamed buns. He likes to use cold water straight from the tap and only barely mixes the dough with a flimsy pair of chopsticks. Dough does not get proofed whatsoever and the resulting horror resembles a brick no less.

When I had a go at making Swedish saffron bread not too long ago, he was keeping an eagle eye on me, most likely to make sure that I didn't leave the kitchen looking like it had just been bombed with flour. A little inquisitive for his nature, he asked what I was doing and I tried my best to explain the purpose of proofing and the optimum temperature for the multiplication of yeast and whatever else.

I thought he would have taken something from our in-depth conversation to improve his lacklustre method of making steamed buns, but to no avail. Bricks again. So when my mother cooked up a batch of sweetened adzuki beans and left me home alone, I took the opportunity to one up my dad with steamed buns adapted from a recipe in 'Martin Yan The Chinese Chef'.

I kept it simple by rolling 35g portions of dough into 6cm rounds before stuffing them with a rough tablespoon of beans and then pleating or attempting to pleat anyway. When steaming I line the steamer insert with perforated baking paper. I take a large square of baking paper (the same stuff i use for oven-baked goods) and fold it numerous times and trim just like making a cartouche. Make sure it fits the steamer insert then fold it back up again and punch holes into it at regular intervals using a regular stationary hole puncher. If handled carefully and dried afterwards, it can be used over and over without the need for replacing.

Steamed Milk Dough
35 g castor sugar
5 g active dry yeast
125 g lukewarm milk
70 g lukewarm water
260 g flour
2 g salt
Combine sugar and yeast then sprinkle over a small bowl containing milk and water.
Mix to combine and set aside for 10 mins until frothy.
In an electric stand mixer with dough hook attachment mix flour, salt and yeast together for 5 minutes on medium until smooth and elastic.
Transfer into a greased bowl, cover and proof for 1 hour until doubled.
Portion into 35 grams, roll out on floured bench, fill each bun and pleat.
Steam for 10-12 minutes.


  1. Those look tasty. I've never made pleated versions before - don't know I'd even know where to start, with the pleating!

  2. hmmm yes i had that problem too as you can see with my first one :P haha hideous thing that is!

  3. Funny that a scientist doesn't like a good method, or trial and error for that matter.

    I haven't made my own sweet beans before, although my friend swears it's easy. I guess the buns are the hard part.

  4. I love love love chinese steamed buns! My boy especially loves eating it plain with condensed milk. Must try this soon and no doubt he'd be happy about it!


Related Posts with Thumbnails