Learn how to make soft and fluffy scallion steamed buns studded with scallion and infused with sesame oil. Hua juan can be cooked by steaming or pan frying. So, no worries if you don’t have a steamer!
STEAMED SCALLION BUNS
Once you have a good basic steamed buns recipe, the possibilities are seriously limitless. You can easily turn the recipe into sweet or savory steamed buns. This hua juan (literally means flower rolls) is made with that soft fluffy steamed buns recipe by adding chopped scallion and infused with the aromatic sesame oil. My kids, especially my little boys can easily eat 5 of these at one go! It’s one of his favorites steamed buns. Another sweeter hua juan variety I made was this pumpkin hua juan.
HOW TO SHAPE HUA JUAN (CHINESE FLOWER ROLLS) STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
There are many different varieties of hua juan shapes out there. Some looks like rolls, knots, braids. There is no right or wrong shape if you ask me.
1. Divide the big dough into 48 small doughs
2. Take 4 doughs and roll each one into about 4-5 inch circle. Overlap each circle by about 1-inch. Gently press on the overlapped part to secure
3. Roll it up from the short side like rolling a Swiss roll
4. Cut it into two. Place the cut side down on a parchment paper or muffin paper.
5. Use your fingers to gently “open” up the petal of the flower. Repeat with the next 4 sets of the dough
6. Place them on parchment paper and let them rise to about 50% of its original size and then proceed to either steaming or pan frying in the recipe instructions below
These hua juan had puffed up to about 50% of its original size and ready to be steamed or cooked in the pan.
NO STEAMER? NO WORRIES. YOU CAN COOK THE BUNS IN A PAN
Have you ever cooked pot stickers? yup, the same concept. The buns are pan-fried until golden brown and then steamed.
1. Place the buns on a pan with cooking oil and pan fry until the bottom is golden brown
2. Pour liquid in and cover the pan with a lid. This step is to steam the bun
3. Uncover the lid and let the leftover liquid to cook until evaporates and you will see some oil
4. You can easily remove the buns from the pan and serve
I can’t really tell which ones are steamed and which ones are cooked in the pan without looking at the bottom of the buns. They are both equally good. Soft, fluffy, and love that incredible aroma of sesame oil infused in the buns
Soft and Fluffy Scallion Steamed Buns (Hua Juan) - 2 ways
- 300 gr all-purpose flour about 3 cups, plus more for dusting. See notes
- 60 gr wheat starch or use cornstarch
- 4 gr Instant yeast about 1 1/4 tsp
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp salt and more for sprinkling
- 1 cup green onion (green parts only) finely chopped
- Start with 150 ml about 1/2 cup water (cold/room temperature) plus more to dab the buns later
For pan frying the buns (if you choose to do so instead of steaming):
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 cup water
Making the dough:
- Place the flour, instant yeast, sugar, sesame oil, chopped green onion in a mixing bowl. If you are using a stand mixer, use a dough hook attachment. Gradually add in milk or water. You may need more than 150 ml or not. Add more teaspoon by teaspoon until the dough comes together and continue to knead for 5 minutes. If you are kneading by hands, about 10 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky and smooth. Then add in the salt and continue to knead until the dough is smooth again
- Roll the dough into a long log. Cut into 48 roughly equal pieces
- Keep the rest of the small doughs covered. Take 4 doughs. Work with 1 dough at a time. Flatten the dough with your palm and then roll it out into about 4-inch circle
- Repeat with the other 3 doughs. Overlap each circle by about 1-inch. Gently press on the overlapped part to secure
- Roll it up from the short side like rolling a Swiss roll
- Cut it into two. Place the cut side down on a parchment paper or muffin paper. Use your fingers to gently "open" up the petal of the flower. Repeat with the next 4 sets of the dough
- Keep the flower shaped dough cover with a cloth and let them rise until about 50% of its original size, may take about 15-20 minutes or longer. They don't have to double in size. Do not overproof the dough
Pan frying the buns:
- Preheat a large non-stick pan that has a lid over medium heat. Add about 1 Tbsp cooking oil. Gently place the hua juan on the pan, about 1-inch apart. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes or so
- Pour in 1/2 cup of liquid. It will sizzle. Cover with a lid and let the buns steamed for the next 2 minutes. Uncover the lid and let the leftover liquid cooked until evaporates and you will see some oil. You should be able to remove the buns from the pan. If they don't slide, don't panic. remove the skillet from the hit. Place the lid back on and wait for a moment before removing them, they will be easier to be removed after that.
Steaming (you may need to steam in batches):
- Most likely your steamer won't be able to accommodate steaming all buns at one go. You may need to steam in 2-3 batches, which means, the rest of the batches will sit longer and continue to proof while waiting for the steamer. Not good for the buns! Here's what you can do: Make sure the cover them with plastic wrap and then place them in the refrigerator to slow down the yeast activity or halt it all together until they are ready to be steamed
- Bring the water in your steamer to a rolling boil
- Arrange the buns in the steamer basket (if you use bamboo basket). Wrap the steamer's lid with a cloth (not needed with bamboo basket). Close the lid and lower the heat to LOW (not medium, LOW!) and let the buns steamed for 5 minutes
- After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let them sit for another 1 minute so the steamed buns won't shrink due to sudden temperature change. Remove from the steamer
- Continue to steam the rest of the buns