Whenever I travel to other countries, one of my favorite things to do is to try out their local street food. I feel like that’s the best way to taste what the local eats. I don’t want to eat my comfort food when I’m traveling. I don’t. When I’m at home, yes, I want my comfort food. When I’m traveling at other countries, I want to taste what is comfort food to them.
Taiwan is definitely one of my favorite countries to visit. I love..love…the food. The unforgettable moments to me was going to the Shi Lin night market. They sell pretty much everything at the night market. Food was the highlight to me if it’s not obvious already. The famous and gigantic Taiwanese chicken cutlet, the pineapple tarts, the oyster mee sua, the stinky tofu (stinky but I would die happy eating that stinky stuff!), the dou hua (soybean curd), the hu jiao bing…and so much more!! Traditionally, the hu jiao bing is baked in a deep vase-like oven, but we can bake these at home using regular oven. I love to eat them while they are still warm. The soft and crispy bun pairs so well with the spicy meat filling. Spicy because it is made with lots of ground peppercorns. It’s a different kind of spicyness compare to the one from chili. This is made with white, black, and Szechuan peppercorns. Yes…all the numbing sensation !!! It’s not for the faint of heart I can tell you. It’s not for kids too. That’s why my husband and I ate all of the 8 hu jia bing. He ate 5 and I ate 3 right after the photo shoot !! (the pig in me!! or us!!). Of course, you can always omit the peppers or not put that much for kid-friendly version.
I have to admit the hu jiao bing weren’t as good looking with black sesame seeds as they would with white sesame seeds. I ran out of white sesame seeds. But I can assure you, they didn’t alter the taste much.
- 1 tsp dry active yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Start with 1/4 cup water to 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1 large egg + 1 Tbsp milk beaten
- About 1 cup white sesame seeds I used black sesame seed because I ran out
- Place all the ingredients for the filling in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Let is sit for about 5 minutes and it will start to get foamy
- Sift the all-purpose flour into a large mixing bowl. Add in corn starch, and salt. Stir to mix. Add in the yeast you prepared earlier followed by cooking oil. Stir to mix everything. If the dough still appear to be dry, you can add a bit of water until the dough comes together. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes
- Preheat oven to 360 F. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl. Covered with a cloth and let it rise at a warm place for about 1 hour. It may not necessarily double in size, but it will sure puff up. Punch the dough down and roll the dough into a long log. Divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll them out into a 1/4-inch thickness and about 4-inch in diameter. Scoop about 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp of the filling into the middle of the dough. Gather all edges towards center, and gently pinch to seal. Make sure you seal well. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with seam side down. Continue with the rest of the dough and filling. You might use up all the filling or you might have a bit leftover
- Brush the top of the bun with egg wash and then sprinkle with some sesame seeds. Pop them into the oven and let them bake for about 30 minutes. You may check on one after 30 minutes to make sure the filling is cooked through and the buns has nice golden brown
- Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. They are best served warm