Asian Barbecue Steamed Buns

I often have the problem of not appreciating  something until it’s no longer around.  Houston has a great mix of all types of cuisine- Tex Mex, Cajun, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Polish, German, etc.  One of my great loves is Chinese food, especially Dim Sum.  Is there anything better than carts of food being pushed all around you while you point and pick then eat until you’re stuffed? (The answer to that is no).

Despite my love of Dim Sum and Chinese food, I often turned down the restaurant option in favor of something else (often a place with an obscenely delicious dessert).  Now that I am moving to a town with fewer options for Asian cuisine, I figured I’d better learn to make some of my favorites myself rather than despair in a Dim Sum-less existence.

Steamed buns are a yummy Dim Sum treat with a pillowy soft roll wrapped around a tangy barbeque filling.  I made mine with mushrooms rather than meat to keep it lighter, but feel free to add in any meat or any other type of filling.  The recipe may seem  intimidating at first, but really if you just read  everything through and use your time efficiently, it’s nothing hard and great for a weekend dinner.

Adapted from Love and Olive Oil

For the Dough:
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup warm water
1 package active yeast
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3-1/2 cup all purpose flour, for kneading

For the Filling:
12 mushrooms, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon five spice power


For the Dough:
In a measuring cup, combine honey, water, and yeast.  Stir together and let stand for at least 10 minutes, until foamy.  In a large bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups of flour and salt. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.  Pour onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth but still sticky, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a towel.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

For the Filling:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add a teaspoon of sesame oil and mushrooms.  Cook until tender, about 6-9 minutes.  Add scallions and bamboo shoots and cook for another 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon sesame oil, barbecue sauce, hoisin sauce, light brown sugar, and five spice powder.  Stir into pan and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Set aside and cool.

Punch down dough.  Roll into a rectangle and cut into 24 rectangles.  Roll into balls and sprinkle flour on top.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.  Cut out 24 squares of parchment paper.  Roll balls into rounds and place 1 scant tablespoon of mushroom filling on each.  Pinch closed and place seam side down on wax paper.

Working in batches, steam each roll for 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

Makes 24 mini steamed buns.

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