Okay, every once and again, we have a yen for these delectable dim sum staples- an entire meal in a round ball of flour. But then again, there's more than flour that meets the eye and greets the taste buds. Here's a recipe I had tried and worked.
Ingredients for the filling:
1 tsp oil
8 oz BBQ pork (diced char siew)
3 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp light soy sauce
3 tsp sugar
For the dough: (makes 12 large or 24 small buns)
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup warm water
1.5 tsp dried yeast
3.25 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp oil
1.5 tsp baking powder
Dissolve the sugar in the water, then add the yeast. Stir lightly, then set aside for 10 mins, or until foamy.
Sift the flour into a bowl and add the yeast mixture and the oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients into a rough dough. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If it is very sticky, knead in a little more flour- the dough should be soft. Lightly grease a bowl with the oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it so that all sides of the dough are coasted. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set aside to rise in a draft-free place for 3 hours.
Uncover the dough, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. If you are not using the dough right away, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
When you are ready to make the dough, flatten it and make a well in the centre. Place the baking powder into the well and gather up the edges to enclose the baking powder. Pinch the edges to seal. Lightly knead the dough for several minutes to incorporate the baking powder, which will activate immediately.
Heat the oil in the wok. Add the pork, rice wine, sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar and cook for one minute. Allow to cool.
Divide the dough into 12 or 24 portions, depending on how large you want the buns to be, and cover with a kitchen towel. Working with 1 portion at a time, press the dough into circles with the edges thinner than the centre. Place 1 tsp of filling on the dough for a small bun or 3 tsp for a large bun. Draw the sides in to enclose the filling. Pinch the top together and put each bun on a square of waxed paper. When you get more proficient at making these, you may be able to get more filling into the buns, which will make them less doughy. Ensure that you seal them properly. The buns can also be turned over, then cooked the other way up so that they look like round balls.
Arrange the buns well spaced in 3 steamers. Cover and steam over simmering water in a wok, reversing the steamers halfway through, for 15 mins or until the buns are well-risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out hot. Serve with some chili sauce.