Whole Wheat Steamed Buns
Happy lunar new year, you little hooligans!
Depending on what you believe in, it is either the year of the rabbit or the year of the cat. Mee—yow. I think that it is only the Vietnamese who celebrate the year of the cat. What about bunnies? They don’t exist for the Vietnamese.
My family and I used to celebrate every new year by visiting loads of family and eating loads of food. Us kids were always gifted with red envelopes which encased carefully folded bills. Our parents usually took the money away from us in the end for groceries…but it was still a pleasure to receive them.
Nowadays, my parents’ bones are weary and our celebrations have grown more mellow. We won’t make a long trek to hear fire crackers and the heart-pounding drums for the dragon dances—but we will still have a sweet meal together to welcome in the new year. A prayer here and there at home and at the temple will help usher it in as well.
Now, my sister (who also helped me take a few of these photographs, the dear thang), mum, and I made steamed buns. They’re kind of the wrong colour. My cousin gave us a recipe for general steamed buns that could be made white or whole wheat (or in my case, whole grain), and we improvised on the red bean and taro filling. These are neat, man. I’d still like to find a from-scratch recipe that makes bun dough as tasty as the one from my mixes from the supermarket…
Whole Wheat Steamed Buns
recipe adapted from my cousin
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tsp white sugar
1/2 cup all purpose/whole wheat flour
1/2 cup warm water
*also need wax paper squares
Mix above ingredients in medium-large bowl.
Let Stand until tripled in size (30 minutes).
1/2 cup warm water/milk
3 cups of all purpose/whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
pinch of baking soda
Mix in the above ingredients with the initial mixture (add baking soda last).
Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. If dough is too dry, knead in extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Roll over in a greased bowl, cover and let stand until tripled in size (2/5 – 3 hours).
Punch down dough and spread out on a floured board/surface.
Sprinkle baking powder (1 tsp) evenly on surface and knead for 5 minutes.
Divide dough into two parts. Put unused portion in covered bowl.
Shape dough into balls with smooth surface up and put onto wax paper squares.
Let stand for 1/2 hour until doubled.
Bring water in steamer to a boil, then lower heat to medium.
Steam buns for 15 minutes. Remove lid first before you turn off heat.