There are scores of different dumplings in the dim sum repertoire, many of them varying only in the fillings. Bun flour, also called Hong Kong or waterlily flour, is bleached which partially breaks down the gluten and makes the results softer. The filling is a sweet bean paste called tau sa, which is available in cans in most Chinese stores.
MAKES ABOUT 12 BUNS
200g/7oz bun flour or waterlily flour or self-raising flour
5ml/1 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
15g/½oz easy-blend dried yeast
120ml/4fl oz warm water
1 can sweet bean paste (about 300g/11oz)
Lychees, to serve (optional)
1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Make a well in the middle and pour in the warm water. Mix to a dough.
2. Place the dough on a floured board and knead for 10 minutes. Return it to the bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes or until it has doubled in bulk.
3. Knock back or punch down the dough, knead it again, return it to the bowl and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes.
4. Roll out the dough on a floured board and shape it into a 30cm/12in long roll about 5cm/2in in diameter. Cut the roll into 2.5cm/1in slices and flatten each of these with a rolling pin to a thin round, about 10cm/4in across.
5. Holding a pastry round on the palm of one hand, spoon a tablespoon of the filling into the centre. Cup your hand so that the dough enfolds the filling, pleating and pinching it where necessary. Pinch off the excess dough at the top and seal with a twisting action. Sealing is important, or the buns will gape when steamed. Fill the remaining dumplings in the same way.
6. Cut 5cm/2in squares of baking parchment. Stand a dumpling on each piece of paper in a steamer. Steam for 15 minutes, then serve immediately. Canned lychees are a delicious accompaniment!
Variation: Canned chestnut purée can also be used to good effect in these simple steamed buns.
From: CHINA: A REGIONAL COOKBOOK by Terry Tan
Published by Lorenz Books
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