Pinchy and Finchy’s Hot Buns

Who doesn’t adore steamed buns at a dim sum restaurant?  But did you know they are relatively simple to make?  I assumed any authentic recipe would be labor intensive and the buns themselves would be tricky to form and cook properly, so I was thrilled to discover that the dough is incredibly basic and the buns are a cinch to shape.

My girlfriend Pinchy had bookmarked the Steamed Pork Buns recipe from the Feb/March 2011 issue of Fine Cooking magazine, which we followed fairly closely (although my edits are shown below).  I did make our pork from scratch the day before, but you could very easily use purchased BBQ pork and quite honestly, you could use any leftover cooked pork for this recipe.  We also both agreed that this would be equally wonderful with BBQ chicken or extra firm tofu.

Go ahead and double the recipe as we did and you will have a dozen buns to eat right away and a dozen more to freeze for a rainy day.

Steamed Pork Buns

For the pork:

2 # boneless pork loin roast

1/4 C. oyster sauce

1/4 C. hoisin sauce

3 Tbsp. double black soy sauce

3 Tbsp. regular soy sauce

3 Tbs mirin (rice wine)

8 whole black peppercorns

Cut the loin lengthwise into two equal pieces. Score each strip crosswise with a paring knife 5 or 6 times on each side. Put pork in a shallow bowl to marinate. Combine oyster sauce, hoisin, dark and regular soy sauces, mirin, and peppercorns and pour over the pork.  Marinate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to cook the pork, heat the oven to 450 and position the rack in the top third of the oven. Put the meat on a heavy baking sheet lined with foil. Spoon some of the marinade on the meat. Bake for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with the juice from the pan.

Then, turn the broiler on high and place the meat 3-4 inches from the flame so it gets slightly charred in places, about two minutes per side. Let it cool thoroughly and dice into 1/4 inch pieces.

For the dough (double batch):

4 1/2 C. A.P. flour

1 C. sugar

2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 C. milk, at room temp.

1/3 C. water, at room temp.

4 T. lard (warm) or peanut oil

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center.  Slowly pour in the milk and then the water while gently mixing until both are absorbed.  Add the lard or oil and mix until a dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.  Return to the bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 1 hour. This is a good time to make your filling.

Pork Bun Dough

For the filling:

Diced BBQ pork (about 2 1/2 C. total)

2 Tbsp. peanut oil

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

3/4 C. low sodium chicken broth

3 Tbsp. oyster sauce

3 Tbsp. ketchup

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 Tbsp. double black soy sauce

2 Tbsp. mirin

2 tsp. sesame oil

In a medium bowl, whisk together the broth, oyster sauce, ketchup, sugar, cornstarch, and soy sauce. Heat a wok over high heat for 30 seconds. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

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