Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baozi (Chinese steamed buns)

There was a bit of filling left over from the other day's dumplings, so today I tried something I've always wanted to do - steamed buns.  These will be, for readers, boringly the same as the dumplings from my last post, which they essentially are, except that instead of the flour-and-water wrapper, the wrapper is a yeasted dough.  It's just plain white bread dough, according to my source, Bryanna Clark Grogan, in her Authentic Chinese Cuisine, so that's what I made. 

You create the buns much the same way as the dumplings, except that the dough is sort of pleated up around the filling.  You want to put as much filling as possible into each bun, so as not to end up with a thick glob of dough at the top (or bottom, depending on how you cook them):

Once you've got the buns made, place them on a piece or pieces of waxed paper or parchment paper in a steamer, and let them rise for 20 minutes.  I've poked holes in my parchment paper to allow the steam to come through:

Then you just steam them for 15 minutes.  Here's what mine looked like right out of the steamer:

Again, like the dumplings, though the texture was great and they were definitely cooked, they don't look like the fluffy white buns you see in the markets.  Why not?  It's a mystery to me at least, but if you know, please comment and enlighten me.

Anyway, apart from the appearance I was quite pleased with them and would make them again. 

They were served here with a coconut-milk-based soup from Chat Mingkwan's Thai Vegetarian Cooking and some more rice vinegar/grated ginger dipping sauce for the dumplings.  Mmmm...


  1. Zoa,

    I don't think your posts could ever be boring. These dumplings look great to me, and your dinner shot looks like a gorgeous restaurant meal: very appealing!

    I really want to become more adventurous in the kitchen, your dumplings and other dishes have inspired me.

    Do you like Bryanna's Chinese Cuisine book? You're versed in a lot different Asian cuisines, so if you like that book, I'll take that as a good recommendation and pick it up...sounds like a good place to start my adventures.

  2. Rose, I love that book, and have made so many recipes from it. But others have criticized it for being too wordy and not having any pictures. There are some drawings, but no photographs, and I'm all into reading. Especially considering the modest price of this book, I'd recommend it with five stars.

  3. This is random, I know, but I don't like that they're called 'Buns'. It's always bothered me when I've seen them around.

  4. I decided that it would just be easier to pack up and come live at your house than to try to make all the wonderful stuff you cook. So, would next weekend be a good time to arrive? :D

  5. Well, Shenandoah, as I mentioned, normally these are more "bun-like", but somehow mine just didn't turn out that way. Comments are always welcome, random or not ;)

    Andrea, cool, I would love to cook for you anytime you feel like paying a visit to snowy (not kidding, there has been snow on the ground for five days) northern Canada!

  6. hi zoa,

    i'm not sure if this is correct or not, but i've always assumed that the chinese steamed buns have some rice flour in them? i may be wrong. my own i make with flour i grind at home, and they are very much darker, but they taste wonderful!!! Your pleats look lovely...those took me quite a while to get anywhere with. i get tired of fidgeting sometimes and just twist them. :-) I like to make fillings with cabbage, carrot and ground seitan...very satisfying!!!

    great post as always!!



  7. The buns look awesome! I've always wanted to try making them at home but just never got around to it, now I'm inspired to give it a try. :-)

  8. Glad to hear the recommendation, I just bought it last week after a long wait. I've got to break into it!

  9. I initially also had trouble making the fluffy, pillowy type buns I wanted. I finally found some good recipes, and here is my vegan version:

  10. Justin, this looks like just what I want! Thanks for the link. Your site is beautiful.