PAN-FRIED CHIVE & SHRIMP BUNSAlmost two years ago I was so obsessed with making steamed buns or often known as “bao”. I was trying hard to get the “pleats” on the buns to show and it finally did. Then along came my own “bun in the oven” (a.k.a – my now almost 16-month old daughter) and things have been much more hectic ever since. That’s also how long I haven’t been making any bao.

With my mom around this month, I did manage to experiment on pan-fried chive and shrimp buns. It is pretty much a steamed bun with chive and shrimp filling that is pan-fried first and then steamed. If you are familiar with pot-stickers, this is exactly it, instead of dumplings, we are using buns. Sounds a bit more complicated but alas, it’s not. The result is great. You get a slightly crunchy bottom (from the pan-frying) and then the soft top (from steaming) with great savory filling on the inside. You dip it in the spicy soy dipping sauce and you realized “man…I don’t need to go to restaurants to have such great steamed buns”. I got the recipe for the filling from Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger cookbook. I used the same recipe for the buns I’ve been using all this time.


What you will need:
For the dough:
  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour (and extra for dusting)
  • 1 packet of active instant yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Cup of lukewarm milk
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp of oil
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar – for steaming
For filling:
  • 1 lbs shrimp (shelled and deveined, roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups chopped chives
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock (for cooking the buns later)
Chili sauce:
  • 1½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup scallions
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp sambal oelek (available at both Asian and some Western grocery stores)
Preparing the dough:
  1. Prepare a large mixing bowl and add in flour and baking powder. Set aside
  2. Dissolves yeast in water, milk and sugar. Once dissolves, pour into the mixing bowl above. Mix all together
  3. Knead the dough until it is smooth and doesn’t stick to your hands anymore. You may need to add more flour or you may not. If the dough is still rather sticky, you may need to add a bit by a bit
  4. This is the exercise part for your arms. Knead the dough for 15 minutes. Punch it, slam it or whatever you want to do. Like I mentioned before, had a bad day at work ? Channel it out here my friends ;)
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl to let it rest for about 1 hour or longer in winter time. It will double in size
  6. Roll the dough into long sausage and divide your dough into half and then half again until you 20 small doughs
Preparing the filling:
  1. Combine ginger, shrimp, chives, eggs and sesame oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly
Wrapping and pan-frying:
  1. Dust your working area with some flour and roll it out with a rolling pin into a thin circle (about ¼-inch thick)
  2. Working with one dough at a time, place about 1 Tbsp filling in the middle of the dough and bring all the edges together and slightly pinch to seal the top and let it rest while continue to work on the rest of the dough
  3. When finish with wrapping the buns, heat a large skillet with lid over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the buns, flat sides down and let them brown for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and cover the pan with the lid. Allow the bun to steam for about 10 minutes. If stock has evaporated but buns are not yet cooked, add more stock in ¼- 1 cup increments as needed. You may need to work in batches. Don't overcrowd the skillet, as the buns will expand when being steamed
  4. Remove from the skillet to a serving platter with the chili sauce
Preparing the chili sauce:
  1. Combine all the ingredients together and serve with the pan-fried chive and shrimp buns

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