Iris’ First Blog: Introduction + First Trial in Making Chinese Steam Bun (饅頭)

Ben has been nudging me for the longest time to write a blog. After we had started this site about a year ago, I finally get the courage (and time!) to write a post! (For those of you who don’t want to read the intro, feel free to scroll down to the Chinese Steam Bun. I promise I won’t get upset about it 🙂 )

Anyway, I enjoy eating a lot. Most people will think I am addicted to food. But I think most of us from Hong Kong are a little obsessed with food so I am the norm! 🙂

I enjoy cooking to a lesser degree because I am usually consumed by work. Being exhausted after work most days, the last thing I want to do is to spend 1+ hour to cook a meal, which only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to consume and another 30+ minutes to clean up! By the time everything is done, it’s time for me to go to bed! I didn’t want to spend my whole day just for work and cooking, so I mostly do the cooking on my days off. And even then, I don’t cook all the time when I have my days off…

All I can say is that I enjoy the end results of cooking so much (i.e. eating) that I will cook so I can enjoy it! 😀

Chinese Steam Bun (饅頭)

This is my first trial in making the Chinese Steam Bun. Those are very close to the breading for BBQ pork bun. Ben really likes it. Since I have recipe for it in one of my cook book and it was relatively easy, I went ahead and give it a try yesterday.

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Ingredients: 8oz of all purpose flour, 1TBSP of sugar, 1TBSP of lard, 1/2 tsp of dry yeast, 1/2 tsp of baking powder, and 1/2 cup of warm water.

Total prep, idle, and cooking time: 1.75 hour

The actual prep time is quite manageable. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes (the book estimate was 10 minutes. Well, with me, the time is usually doubled. I think estimate in all the cook books are for chef or somebody who cook a lot but not for a slow poke like me :p).

It requires about an hour to wait for the dough to rise. It was my first time working with dry yeast. With the mild temperature we had yesterday, my best solution was to put the dough with a couple of bowls of hot water in the oven, which I don’t think was sufficient but it did rise a little (as far as I can tell). Please note the picture above was before it rose.

After an hour, I rolled them into 2 long sausage-like shape, cut them into about 10 pieces. I was supposed to let it rise for another 10 minutes before steaming but I didn’t because I didn’t finish the recipe! I had to steam them in 2 batches so I did that with the second batch. I did put each of them on parchment paper. I probably didn’t need to leave too much extra space on the paper since the buns wouldn’t rise in the steaming process. I steamed each batch for about 15 minutes.

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The final products tasted great with the 2nd batch being a little better. They were not too sweet, just right! As you can see though, their surface didn’t look as smooth as the ones in restaurants. They were also a little dry. And I think they needed some more rising. There is certainly room for improvement. Maybe I need a little more water and lard? (the dough was looking a little dry) I will try to adjust next time.

The best thing is getting Ben’s approval! Or as my Dad’s saying: “as long as the food tastes good, it doesn’t have to look good!” I myself treasure the taste in my mouth much more than the look itself. But if both can be achieved, that would be better. 🙂

Nice to meet you all! Hope we will see you back again soon! (And I will try my best to write more often!)

Until next time, keep on eating!

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