Pan Fried Buns Part 2


Hello and welcome to the conclusion of the first two-part installment of Food in Mind. In the first part of the installment, I followed some lady’s recipe for pan fried buns to unsatisfactory results. For this installment, I have done some research online and pieced together a recipe that will show you how to make REAL, tasty pan fried buns. These buns are soft and fluffy on the outside, juicy and meaty on the inside, and 100% authentic Chinese food to boot.

This walkthrough will be divided into two sections initially, one for the dough and one for the filling. You will need approximately 3 hours to make this dish.

Part A: The Dough

From these humble beginnings, awesomeness pours forth.

Ingredients:
Flour
Sugar
Yeast*
Water**

You will also need: a container with a lid, a spoon, another deep container/pot with a lid, some way to measure flour and water.

*This is just to rant about how fucking expensive yeast is where I live. That tiny bottle, 4 oz, costs $7, which goes completely against my cheap-ass instincts. The only semi-redeeming factor is that it’ll last for 4 months and can make all the bread you’d ever want to eat in that period of time. But jesus fucking christ, if you buy the little individual packets it’s even more expensive ($40+ per pound), you’d think some fucking gangster had figured out extorting home bakers is far more profitable than selling crack to hobos.
**Must be warm water between 110-120F, or something like 40-45C. This is VERY IMPORTANT to kick start your yeast.

Procedure:

Begin by pouring about 1/3 teaspoon of yeast into your liddable container. Dump 1/3 teaspoon of sugar on top of that, and wiggle your container around to mix the two. This step is to proof your yeast, and to start up your dough. Proofing the yeast is to test it to see if it works.

Sub crack cocaine and yellow sand for yeast and sugar if the latter is not available.

Now, add 3/4 cups of warm water between 110-120F to this mix and cover the lid. Let sit for 5 minutes. What I did was to simply guesstimate the temperature of tap water compared to body temperature. However, this is very risky and not very accurate. If you use water too cold the yeast won’t start, and if you use water too hot you will kill the yeast cells, so try to be accurate.

At the end of five minutes, uncover the lid. There should be some foam floating above a cloudy yellow liquid. If there is no foam, that means you fucked up on the water, and you should restart the proofing process. If you don’t, your dough won’t rise and you’d just be wading further up shit creek without a paddle.

If you do see foam floating on the liquid, your yeast works. Gradually dump and mix 1 5/8 cups of flour into the liquid. Use your fingers to work the dough into a cohesive lump, then move it onto a large, flat, floured surface to knead the dough.

What kneading in progress looks like. Look ma, no hands.

To knead the dough, grab the lump of dough on two ends and gently pull the ends away from each other about 1-2 inches. Be careful not to tear the dough. Then, fold the ends together so you again have a single lump, and push the ends together. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the process. Continue to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, and you will discover the dough becomes smoother. After 8-10 minutes, shape the dough into a smooth ball.

Now, get yourself a deep container or pot, and lightly oil the bottom. Place the ball of dough into the container and roll it around a bit until it is covered in oil, like so:

Frosty the Snowman's left testicle. Or a ball of dough.

Place a lid on that container and let sit for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, you will have time to start on the

Part B: The Filling

Sorry, no ingredient spread picture You'll have to settle for in medias res.

Ingredients:
Pork, preferably already ground ##
Chinese rice wine*
Salt
Bouillon, optional
Scallions, minced, optional
Soy Sauce
1 Egg

*I didn’t have any, but this ingredient is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

## If you don’t have any ground pork, you can ground your own. The pork I used was a pork chop. Simply debone, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Group them together single layer on your cutting board, and rapidly chop away. Rearrange the pieces on the board every so often and change the direction of chopping. After about 10-20 minutes,

Meat

becomes

Mo Meat

Pork is tougher to hand-grind than chicken, so you’ll have to keep at it. Anywho, onwards.

Procedure:

Mix ground pork, Chinese rice wine, minced scallions, 1 tsp bouillon, about 1 tsp salt, a splash of soy sauce, and the egg together in a container. You’ll get something that looks like this:

It's an orgasm of flavor that keeps coming and coming.

Set the mixture aside and wait until your dough has finished rising.

Part C: The Final Showdown

If you’re at this step, your dough might look something like this:

Insert crass Incontrol joke here

Gently punch the dough down to deflate it, then roll it into a long log on a flat surface. Cut the dough into 12 equal shapes. Use your hands to individually flatten each piece into a circle, and place a generous portion of filling in the center. Wrap the dough completely around the filling and seal with your fingers. The yeast-risen dough should be very flexible and elastic, so you don’t have to be afraid of the dough breaking. If the dough is a bit too sticky to work with at this point, don’t flour it, but instead lightly grease your hands with oil.

Dough meets filling, one wrapped around the other like star-crossed lovers ready to be fried then devoured.

Once all the buns have been made, let them sit somewhere room temperature for another 20-30 minutes. At the end of that time, pre-heat a nonstick pot at medium heat, and pour in about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Place all of your buns into the pot, packed all together.

Just imagine the buns as terrified little sentient beings about to be torn apart by your gnashing teeth.

Cover the lid and let the buns fry at medium heat for about 6-10 minutes. *DO NOT* open the lid at any point in time in these initial 6-10 minutes because you want to build up heat and steam. The buns will only be browned on one side, so the steam is absolutely essential to cook the top of the buns. After the first 6-10 minutes, pour 1/3 cup of cold water into the pot and cover the lid once more.

More unhelpful pictures in which you aren't sure what the fuck is going on

Cook until the water is all gone (you will begin to hear the sizzle and pop of oil again), which should take about 5 minutes, then cook with the lid uncovered for a couple more minutes. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions on top if you have any. Plate and serve hot. The buns should be browned and crispy on the bottom, while light and fluffy on top.

I recommend Chinese brown vinegar combined with chili paste as a dipping sauce.

The Result

What victory looks and tastes like.

4.5 / 5 Only because I had no Chinese rice wine D: To be completely honest though, this stuff is pretty cheap street food in my hometown of Shanghai, but it’s damn good. I’ll probably continue to make this in the future to hone my skills further.

Additional thoughts and tips:
-Try to use pork with a moderately high fat content. The higher the fat content, the juicier the buns.
-Chinese rice wine, if you can get it, makes this dish go from awesome to holy fucking shit awesome.

Conclusion

These pan fried buns are completely more awesome than the ones in the previous entry in every way possible. Use this recipe.

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