What’s Mimsy Eating? More buns!

[Oops, it seems like I used my old watermark on my photos instead of the new one with my wordpress URL]

Beef Bun (niu ro shen bing)

I tried making some more savory pastries over the weekend. This time I dabbled with Beef Buns and Radish Buns.

Out of the two buns, the Beef Buns were much easier to make. It’s just your basic yeast-less dough with a meat filling in the center. The meat seasonings were pretty standard — ground beef, ginger, scallions, and salt. Wrap the dough around the filling, form the whole thing into a disc-like shape and then steam-fry the entire thing like pot stickers (a.k.a. pan fried dumplings).

Beef Bun (niu ro shen bing)

In the picture at the top of the page, that’s actually the bottom of the Beef Bun but I thought it came out cooler looking compared to the topside which was uniformly golden brown. The bottom was where I pleated and sealed the bun.

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Next, I tried my hand at making Radish Buns which turned out to be a lot more complicated than I’d originally thought.

For the filling the recipe called for shredded daikon radish, Chinese ham or bacon, scallions, dried baby shrimp, and salt to taste. I didn’t have any ham/bacon in the fridge but I did have some Chinese sausage so I substituted that into the recipe.

Radish Bun (luo bo si bing) filling

The complicated part came in the form of the dough…or doughs, I should say.

In order to make the doughs for the Radish Bun, first you need to make a water-based dough out of water, flour, lard and sugar. Then there’s a second oil-based dough that you need to make that consists of more lard and flour.

Radish Bun (luo bo si bing) double dough

When you have both doughs ready, you then wrap the water-based dough around the oil-based dough so that it looks like a big ball within a ball.

The next part is where it gets tricky. You flatten the ball into the shape of a narrow rectangle and then roll it tightly like a cigar. You do this so that when the bun bakes in the oven it’ll create dozens of flaky layers. Then you flatten the whole thing again into a disc shape which you then fill and seal.

Unlike the Beef Buns, the Radish Buns need to be baked in the oven. In order to make them pretty, the buns need to be brushed with an egg yolk wash and sprinkled with sesame seed buns before going into the oven for 20 minutes.

Radish Bun (luo bo si bing)

And this is how they turned out. Not too bad for a first attempt.

They look pretty big in the photos but they’re actually quite small, about the size of a child’s fist.

This was the first time I bought and used lard and I have to say it was quite a revelation. I can see why Southerners like to use it for biscuits and doughs. It’s much easier, and less messy, to work with compared to butter. I made these buns on a 90+ degree day and the lard didn’t get all nasty on me. If it had been butter it would’ve melted on me and made my dough greasy.

Butter still tastes better though 😛

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