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Buns! With Beans!

A while ago I took it into my head that I wanted to make steamed bean buns.  Every so often, you have to challenge yourself.

Actually the main reason was Darwin.  He won't eat at a restaurant that serves steamed buns or anything like them, so the only way for me to get them is to make them myself--and then show him that they're delicious.

I'm an experienced bread maker, though I've never steamed it before.  I rummaged through my cupboards and found the collapsable vegetable steamer I almost never use.  I also found my rice cooker's steamer attachment.  Yay!  I was good for equipment.

Recipes for bean buns abound on-line.  I looked up a couple, chose the one that made the most sense to me, and set to work.

First up was making the bean filling.  Theoretically you can buy it, but what fun would that be?  The recipes called for me to soak dried red beans overnight and cook them until tender, but it occurred to me that canned red beans are exactly the same thing and would let me go straight to the filling prep, so that's what I used.  I put a can of red beans (inlcuding the liquid) into my little food chopper and let it whir away.  When everything was mashed up, I thought I'd made a mistake because the material was pinkish white instead of deep red:

Maybe soaking the beans yourself did make a difference.  But things often change when you heat them, so I forged ahead.  The recipes called for slow cooking the pressed/chopped beans with butter, sugar, and salt to reduce the liquid.  This took close to an hour, but I was right--the filling turned deep red:

Cool! And it tasted wonderful.

While the filling was reducing, I made the dough.  That was easy.  I mixed and kneaded flour, water, and yeast with my dough hook.  I could've used my bread maker's dough setting, but the maker was busy with a loaf of regular bread.  I let the dough rise, punched it down, rolled it into a log, and cut it into pieces, which I flattened to palm size and filled with bean.

Next came what I thought would be the tricky part--forming the buns.  It turned out to be easy!

Pinch and fold, pinch and fold,

until the roll closes itself like a little drawstring bag.

They came out way better than I thought for my first time.  They rested while I heated water for steaming and oiled the steamers.

In they went!  They steamed for 20 minutes and then rested again off heat but still in the steamer for five more minutes.  I liked using the clear lid because I could see what was going on and didn't feel compelled to lift the lid to check on them, which would let all the steam out and slow the cooking.  The other batch was in the rice cooker, but I didn't take photos of that--nothing to see.

When they were done, out they came!  As you can see, a few were too thin and they leaked a little or became see-through, so next time I'll know to make them thicker.  But none of them opened up or exploded!

A perfect one.  They were delicious, hot out of the steamer.  Soft, tender, with just the right amount of sweetness.  Even Darwin liked them.  Ha!

For dinner, I had takeout sushi with mini egg rolls and home made bean buns.  Delightful!


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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 23rd, 2016 05:59 am (UTC)
what sort of place serves such a vile concoction? sounds like you've ruined perfectly good bread.
Jan. 23rd, 2016 07:28 pm (UTC)
They're delicious, actually! The boys were a little dubious at first, too, but after they tried one, they devoured the rest and asked when I was going to make more. The bean filling is sweet but not the tooth-shattering sweet of American desserts. They're often found in dim sum restaurants. Next I want to try filling them with pork.

Edited at 2016-01-23 07:29 pm (UTC)
Jan. 24th, 2016 01:59 am (UTC)
butbutbut *beans* ... bleah. Pork sounds good, though.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 12:52 am (UTC)
Just had to find a recipe after reading this. Can't wait to buy some red beans.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
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