Steamed buns Saturdays need to be a thing. If only I can make all different kinds of buns for breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner (lunch + dinner) and dinner. Or even dessert ones. Or if at the very least so I can find an excuse to use my bamboo steamer.
Now, it’s worth knowing I’ve been wanting a steamer (a bamboo or metal one or even both) for a long time now as I’ve been dying to try and make my own tamales. That and I’ve been following the great Molly Yeh from My Name is Yeh for quite some time now. I enthusiastically blame her for inspiring this impulse Target purchase and this recipe you see here. If you’re not following Molly, you should. Besides beautiful photography (food and non-food kind) and the most creative recipes imaginable (see this and this and this), you can’t help but be engrossed in her adventures on the farm with her egg boy now turned fiancé ( worth noting in true “I’ve been following this blog for too long” / “maybe I’m too invested” fashion I definitely squealed in delight upon reading she was engaged). One day I hope to meet Molly though, be it on her farm or the streets of New York and maybe one day doing a collaborative post like she did with Cynthia from Two Red Bowls if she ever happens to visit D.C. But until then these steamed buns will work.
Molly originally made some breakfast steamed buns and then pan-fried them. I essentially knew as soon as I bought this steamer that I needed to make a rendition of her buns. It was too late for breakfast (yes, I know there are some people who will eat breakfast foods anytime of the day but my cut-off is about 11 a.m., just like McDonald’s), but we were creeping into the lunch hour so I went home and got cooking. I also became too hungry to fry them but I assume if Molly made them that way, they must be really good.
The idea of these buns came about as I thought about the few times I would go to Panda Express and get the black pepper chicken. I wasn’t a huge fan of Panda Express as a whole but they did do black pepper chicken well. The seasonings I opted to use are pretty basic and the sesame seed was for part flavor and prettiness factor. I feel steamed buns are going to be a really great staple once it gets cold again (though I refuse to believe summer is already almost over). I also found these taste great re-steamed in the bamboo steamer too if you have them in the fridge overnight. The next frontier of steamed buns is making dessert ones.
BLACK PEPPER SESAME SEED CHICKEN STIR-FRY STEAMED BUNS inspired and adapted from Molly from My Name is Yeh
Bonus Recipe!: White Bean Smoked Gouda Steamed Buns
For the buns:
2 1/4 tsp yeast 1/2 c
1 tsp sugar
3/4 c warm water
3 c flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c Greek yogurt
1/4 c olive oil
For the filling:
2 c shaved brussels sprouts
2 c shredded chicken (pre-cooked)
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 c walnut oil
To make the buns:
1) Proof the yeast with the 1 teaspoon of sugar in the warm water.
2) In a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, and salt. Pour in the olive oil, along with Greek yogurt and yeast mixture, and mix to form a dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 2 hours.
To make the filling:
1) Pour walnut oil into pan over medium heat.
2) Add chicken, brussels sprouts, minced garlic and seasonings to pan and begin sautéing in pan, being sure to continuously stir for about 15 minutes. Seasonings should be well mixed in and chicken browned.
To assemble the buns:
1) Roll or pat out the dough on a lightly floured surface and begin rolling dough into balls by hand. Fill with 1-2 tablespoons of filling and pinch shut. Place on a square of parchment paper and in a bamboo or metal steamer, a few inches apart.
2) Place steamer with buns inside over a pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until doubled in size and cooked through.