I set out to make steamed bbq buns only to realize half way through the process I had never replaced my bamboo steamer. With dough rising in a bowl on the counter and chicken braising with green onion, garlic, ginger, and leeks it was too late to turn back.
The dough for the buns is made by combining AP Flour and cornstarch along with yeast, sugar, water, and oil. To achieve the particular flavor and broken top the baking powder is incorporated into the dough after it has risen before it is portioned for filling. The most comprehensive instructions I have found are on The Woks Of Life . The website is full of mouth watering dim sum and other Chinese favorites. The pictures alone are worth a visit (or two).
The filling is traditionally comprised of roasted pork loin along with a combination of sweet and salty Chinese flavors. Today I cleaned the meat from a roasted chicken to be used for the buns. The aromatics are sweated before the chopped meat is added to the pan. Allow to cook together for a few minutes. Reduce the heat, add the sauce, stir to combine. Braise in the oven for 30-45 minutes, until the meat tender and the sauce is reduced, but not dry.
Then came the tricky part. To steam the buns I used a roasting pan, its rack, and a good bit of aluminum foil. The foil created a sufficient cap over the roasting pan to successfully steam all the buns. I would not recommend this as a permanent solution. It got the job done.
The results are not quite as photogenic as I hoped. The flavors and texture of the buns was right on. This experience opened an opportunity to visit the International District to pick up said steamer.