I really have not been posting as much as I expected to over the uni break. During exams I was thinking about all the nice things I would cook with all of my free time and that lark, but I ended up being rather busy with seeing friends and hanging out with my friend's girlfriend who was visiting from America (and left yesterday D:) and playing Tetris. I also discovered Parks and Recreation, so that ate up a lot of my time.
Something else that ate up a lot of my time was these steamed pork buns! I've been craving them for about six months, since I left Sydney last (at the end of January) and had them at the airport. I saw a steamer in the supermarket, thought that it would be a great idea to make them, and promptly bought it.
Of course, since I took almost an entire day to make them, I've found them at food courts everywhere over here. Don't get me wrong, these were delicious, but not really worth the effort. Making my own bread? Fine. Roasting entire pumpkins, then using the skin for stock and roasting the seeds for snacks? Great. Taking a whole day to make four steamed pork buns (and four steamed char-siu vegetable buns for Levi)? Not so much fun. These are definitely being relegated to "buy".
The saving grace of these, though, is that the roast pork with char-siu sauce was AMAZING, and I will make it again. Without the dough-making and bun-forming and steaming, the pork seems worth making at home. Also I have some leftover pork which needs to be used up. Just saying.
I only made a couple of substitutions/omissions from the recipe - no shallot in the marinade, oyster sauce for soy sauce, and rice wine for gin. I can't think of anything else you could use as a steamer, but the steamer wasn't expensive (about $12 I think).
STEAMED PORK BUNS
Makes 8 buns
Total time commitment: 2 - 3 hours
Recipe from Taste.com.au
Cost: $2.47 per bun, assuming they're all pork buns and not vegetable
For the buns:
2 cups Plain Flour
2 ½ tsp Baking Powder
2 Tbsp Caster Sugar
1 tsp Salt
½ cup Warm Water
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
For The Char-Siu Pork:
3 Tbsp Char Siu Sauce
½ tsp Five Spice Powder
1 ½ tsp Oil
250 g Pork Fillets, trimmed
1 ½ tsp Honey
For The Sauce:
4 Tbsp Reduced-Salt Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Shao Hsing Rice Wine (I substituted gin)
2 tsp Cornflour
1 tsp Sesame Oil
½ cup minus 2 Tbsp Caster Sugar
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Combine char-siu sauce, oil and five-spice powder from the pork section, and marinate pork in the mixture for 30 minutes - 2 hours.
2. While the pork is marinating, combine dry ingredients from the bun section, then gradually add water and oil to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for one hour while you cook the pork.
3. Remove pork from marinade, place in a baking dish, and cook for 40 minutes, basting occasionally (I did every ten minutes) and turning the pork over halfway through. When cooked, remove from oven, brush with honey, and wrap in alfoil for five minutes before slicing.
4. While the pork is cooking, combine sauce ingredients (minus the oil) in a jug and whisk to combine. When the pork has been sliced, heat oil in a frypan and add pork and sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to the boil. Set aside to cool.
5. While pork is cooling, remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 8 portions. Roll each portion into a round of dough. Place a spoonful of pork into the centre of each round and pinch the tops together (as you can see, I didn't do such a good job of this).
6. Pour water into a wok, saucepan or frying pan to about 1/3 full - whatever your steamer will fit on top of so that it doesn't touch the water. Bring water to the boil over a high heat. Line your bamboo steamer with baking paper and add buns (I could fit four at a time). Cover with steamer lid and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the bun comes out clean. Repeat to cook remaining buns and serve.