dim sum baked buns

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This recipe is from a cookbook that was a gift from a former colleague. I wanted to try it because it was inspired by American-style dim sum in the US, where instead of steaming the buns, they are sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked. In the original recipe, frozen dough was used; however, in Bangkok where there is no frozen bread dough, I made my own dough from a dinner roll recipe I found and adapted from allrecipes.com. I increased the filling in the dim sum recipe because the dinner roll recipe was for  24 32 rolls, not sixteen. These buns turned out tender and moist, and the filling was flavorful, redolent of hoi sin sauce and the sour-sweet taste of plum sauce.

Dim Sum Baked Buns (adapted from Chinese Cooking and More)
Makes 24 32 buns

Filling (can do ahead 1 day and refrigerate)
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, minced (I used 1 cup fresh mushrooms)
4 green onions, minced
4 tablespoons plum sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Cooking spray
1 pound ground chicken
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Soften dried mushrooms in hot water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Cut off and discard stems. Finely chop caps. Combine mushrooms, green onions, plum sauce and hoisin sauce in large bowl.

Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to break up large pieces of meat. Add garlic and ginger; cook stirring 2 more minutes. Add mushroom mixture and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside to cool.

Cook’s Note: Filling shouldn’t be watery. Mix 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch with the raw ground chicken, and add salt and pepper.

Bread Rolls (Allrecipes.com)
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (between 110˚F to 115˚F)
2 cups warm milk (between 110˚F to 115˚F)
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
7 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. When the mixture is foamy, add the milk, shortening, eggs, sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until combined on low speed, then increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Baker’s note: I used all 7 cups flour in this recipe. The dough tends to be sticky.

Change to the dough hook and knead dough (at low speed setting #2 on a KitchenAid mixer) until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. If the dough climbs up the hook, stop the machine and clear the hook. Don’t count stopping time in kneading time. The dough should mostly clear the sides. Scrape it out into a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into 32 equal pieces then shape each piece into a ball. Test a piece by pulling it. If it shrinks back on itself, let the dough balls rest 10 minutes.

Assemble dim sum baked buns:
1 egg yolk, beaten, thinned with a little water
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Cover two four baking trays with parchment. Lightly flour hands and work surface. Flatten a ball and stretch the edges so that the center of the disk is thicker than the edges. The disk should be 3-3 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat.

Place a generous tablespoon filling in centers of disks. Lift edges of dough up and around filling; pinch to seal. Place seam side down on prepared baking tray. Repeat. Place 8 buns on each baking tray.

Cover buns with a towel; let rise in a warm place 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg mixture then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 16-20 minutes or until buns are golden brown.

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