Made famous by Momofuku in NYC now you can easily make this flat steamed buns folded in half at your very own kitchen and sandwich whatever your heart desires in between those fluffy buns
I’m not a fan of nap, especially after having my two kids. Being a SAHM means that I get to do my things (read: cooking/baking experiments, blogging, flipping magazines, replying emails, etc) when the kids nap. These are my golden hours. I’m pretty amazed myself by how productive I can be when my hours are limited versus being a procrastinator when I have 2 days to get things done and they are still not done!! This afternoon I was thinking of doing few projects but I crashed myself on the couch and I really just.couldn’t.wake.up for the next 30 minutes. It’s like this body worked against me and shouted at me “PLEASE LIE DOWN OR WE ARE JUST GOING TO QUIT ON YOU” And so I obliged. 30 minutes later and I still felt like I could use another hour really, but I decided not too because that usually threw my bedtime off. Unlike my husband. This guy can nap for 3-4 hours and still sleeps like a baby at night while I’m tossing and turning my way throughout the night!!
So, off the couch and headed to the kitchen for this Momofuku style flat buns experiment. Actually it’s not the first time I made these but now that I owned a stand mixer and my elbow grease is no longer needed to knead the dough, I thought I should make them in big batch and feed the family for few days probably. Truth to be told, I’ve never been to any of the Momofuku restaurant. They are definitely made famous here in the U.S. by Momofuku in NYC. My husband loves their buns. Momofuku pork belly buns to be exact. Unlike the regular steamed buns with fillings stuffed inside the buns, this flat steamed buns are folded in half and can be opened and filled up with whatever you want in between like a sandwich. The Taiwanese version known as gua bao is usually filled it up with pork belly, slices of cucumbers, and some crushed peanuts. I made some roasted char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) and some spicy pickled cucumber and I thought they will go perfectly with this Momofuku buns and they did. Perfect.
Recipe for the spicy pickled cucumber is adapted from Martin Yan’s China cookbook. I grew up watching his Yan Can Cook show and he was probably the one got me interested in cooking since I was a kid.
How to make flat steamed buns (14 pieces)
- 1/4 cup + 3/4 cup of water plus more as needed
- 2 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast
- 10.5 oz of all purpose flour more for dusting
- 1 Tbsp of sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Cooking oil
- Parchment paper
Spicy pickled cucumber:
- 1 English cucumber
- 2 jalapeno peppers stemmed and sliced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 small fresh red chiles stemmed and thinly sliced
Making the spicy pickled cucumbers:
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and then thinly slice each half on the diagonal
Combine the cucumber and salt in a large bowl, toss to mix and let stand for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain off excess water. Pat dry and set aside. In a large jar, add in vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and chiles. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add in the cucumber and jalapeno slices into the large jar and gently shake to toss in the pickling juice. Cover and set aside for 1 hour in the refrigerator before using them. This will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator
Kneading by hands:
Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. You'll see it foamy
Place all purpose flour in large mixing bowl, sugar, pinch of salt, and baking powder. Stir to mix it well. Add in the yeast and the rest of the of the water. Stir to mix. It will form a rough dough and rather sticky. Work through the sticky stage and knead until the dough is smooth and silky and no longer sticky to your hand. If it's too dry, add a bit water, 1 teaspoon at a time until you get a nice dough. Continue to knead for about 15 minutes and then continue to the next step
Using stand mixer:
Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water in a stand mixer bowl. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. You'll see it foamy
Meanwhile, mix all-purpose flour in another large mixing bowl, sugar, pinch of salt, and baking powder. Set aside. Once the yeast is active and foamy, add in the rest of the water into the bowl. Turn the mixer to low speed and start adding all the flour gradually until it forms a rough dough , add a bit of water (one teaspoon at a time) if it's too dry. Continue to let it knead for another 2 minutes (on kitchenaid) until the dough comes together smooth and silky and no longer sticks to the dough. Continue to the next step
Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Covered and place in a lightly warm place and let it rise for the next 1 hour. It will double in size.
Cut out 28 pieces of 4x4-inch square parchment paper while waiting. After the dough doubled in size, lightly dust a clean surface with some all purpose flour and place the dough on top and punch the dough down and roll the dough into a long log. Cut into 14 equal pieces. Roll them into balls again. Working with one dough at a time while keeping the rest covered, flattened the dough and roll it out into about 4-inch circle. Place a piece of parchment paper halfway and fold the dough over. Place the folded flat dough on top of another piece of parchment paper and continue with the rest of the dough and keep them covered. Let them proof for another 30 minutes
Get the steamer ready on high heat. Steam on high heat for 20 minutes (no peeking while steaming). Let them stay inside the steamer for about 10 minutes after you turn off the heat to prevent the buns from shrinking. Remove from the heat and bring water back to boil ready to steam the next batch. They are ready to be served with whatever filling you want. I stuffed mine with spicy pickled cucumber and Chinese char siu
Recipe NotesYou can steamed all of them and wrap them up well with plastic wrapper and store in air-tight container and you can freeze them for up to 2 weeks. They go straight to steamer from freezer (do not thaw them)
My kids love to just munch on the soft pillowy buns and sometimes will ask for some honey to deep them in. Pretty good actually. When I make steamed buns, I usually make them in big batch and then freeze them and then reheat whenever I want them.
Now, if you would please excuse me because I just can’t stuff enough of these sandwich buns on my face !!!