Sweet Onion, Garlic and Tempeh Steamed Buns

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OMG, seriously I’ve been DYING to make Chinese steamed buns with stuff inside for SO LONG but the wrapping part was so intimidating (still learning even now) that I put it off for so long, because yes, I didn’t want to wrap ugly buns, haha!

Well, let’s say that for my sort of first attempt, I didn’t do too badly, besides the first three, which were not exactly the type of thing you’d expect.

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This is pretty time consuming, but it can be done! It’s a great thing to bring for family occasions as well! But let me say that with good preparation (like rise the dough early, chop the onions ahead of time and peel the garlic), you can get it done pretty fast. It only took me like, 2 hours to do!

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Just a note, you may end up with a little more filling than dough, but you can always eat the filling as it is or have it with rice, since it’s all cooked anyway!

OMG, I would recommend that you eat these straight away after they’re steamed, or keep them wrapped up in foil or a container, because when the buns dry out, they won’t taste as good. When you need to warm them up, I recommend steaming them (it’s 10000x better than microwaving them).

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Steamed buns are a traditional Chinese dish that I ate a lot as a kid, and it’s just SO GOOD because the bread is soft and you feel as if you’re biting into a piece of cloud, except not quite because you can’t really bite clouds… But I think you get my point. Fluffy and delicious!

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Sweet Onion, Garlic and Tempeh Steamed Buns

Dough
2/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup white grape juice
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons semolina flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
1 tablespoons extra light olive oil

Filling
1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
A sprinkle Himalayan/sea salt
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon molasses
5 cloves garlic, roasted
1/2 teaspoon extra light olive oil
3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked overnight
1 large bok choy, diced
2 mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup dried lily bulbs, soaked 2 hours (optional)
1 scallion, diced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon white cooking wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 block tempeh (4oz)
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon dark/aged vinegar or balsamic vinegar

To make the Dough: In a small bowl, combine the warm water with white grape juice (should result in the liquid being lukewarm) and yeast and stir until it has dissolved.

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In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, whole wheat pastry flour, semolina flour, vital wheat gluten, salt and olive oil. Mix in the water, grape juice and yeast and stir for a minute with your spoon.

Use your hands to knead the dough until it becomes silky and smooth. It should not be sticky.

Turn the oven on briefly for about 5 minutes in the lowest setting, then turn it off.

Place the dough inside the bowl and cover it with a lid or damp towel. Open the oven door and leave it sitting on the door so that it can rise in a warm place. If you want to put it under the sun, that will work too. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour.

While you’re waiting for the dough, prepare the filling.

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Once the dough has risen twice the size, punch it down and knead it again. You may need to add a teaspoon or so of flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands.

To make the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). (If your dough is near the oven, this is the time to remove it, because you don’t want your dough to be cooked!)

Be sure that you’ve soaked the shiitake mushrooms overnight and dried lily bulbs for at least 2 hours and drained all the water and rinsed it very well.

Peel the onion, then dice it up into small cubes. Add a tablespoon of olive oil into the frying pan and turn the heat to medium high (5-6). Put the onions in the pan, along with a sprinkle of salt, and let it cook for about 5 minutes, be sure to stir constantly. After 5 minutes, turn the heat to medium low (4) add the 1/4 cup of water and close the lid and let it cook for about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. You’ll need to stir more once the water has evaporated.

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Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and wrap them in aluminum foil and drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil in it to cover the garlic, then bake it in the oven for about 26-30 minutes.

Crumble the tempeh into tiny little pieces and put it in a bowl with the teaspoon of soy sauce, maple syrup and dark vinegar. Stir and let it sit. Once the garlic is done, dice it up and mix it in the bowl with the tempeh.

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Dice the shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, mushrooms, lily bulbs and scallion into very small cubes or pieces and place them all together in one bowl.

Once most of the water is gone in the onions, add the molasses and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Then, turn the heat back up to medium high (5-6) and add the shiitake mushrooms and stir and cook for a minute, then add the bowl of vegetables including the bok choy, mushrooms, lily bulbs and scallions, as well as the cornstarch, low sodium soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cooking wine and sesame oil. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes.

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Finally, add the tempeh crumbles and garlic, Stir and cook for a final 2-3 minutes. Spoon everything in a bowl.

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To wrap the Buns: Grab a small piece of dough (be sure that all pieces of dough you grab are about equal sizes) and roll the dough into a ball, then flatten it with a rolling pin. Try and make it as flat as you can without the skin breaking, as that will make wrapping it much easier. After you finish rolling it, it should be a flat, round circle that fits inside your hands.

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Hold the flat piece of dough on your left hand, then add a spoonful of filling in the centre.

Using your thumb and index finger, pull a small portion of the dough and fold and pleat evenly towards one direction until you’ve reached the end, then twist the centre and give it a nice swirl pattern to finish off the bun.

Wrap all the buns and allow it to sit for about 15-20 minutes to rise some more.

To steam the Buns: Prepare a giant steamer and start boiling water. Grab a cheesecloth and dampen it with some water, then lay it on the bottom of the steamer. Place the buns evenly on the cheesecloth, leaving plenty of space between them.

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Once the water starts to make a loud sound (before it’s boiled), put the steamer with the buns on the stove and steam for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit in the steamer with no open lids for another 3 minutes.

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Sweet Onion, Garlic and Tempeh Steamed Buns
Serves: 5
 

Ingredients
Dough
  • ⅔ cup warm water
  • ⅓ cup white grape juice
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tablespoons semolina flour
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
  • 1 tablespoons extra light olive oil
Filling
  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • A sprinkle Himalayan/sea salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 5 cloves garlic, roasted
  • ½ teaspoon extra light olive oil
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked overnight
  • 1 large bok choy, diced
  • 2 mushrooms, diced
  • ¼ cup dried lily bulbs, soaked 2 hours (optional)
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ block tempeh (4oz)
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dark/aged vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Instructions
  1. To make the Dough: In a small bowl, combine the warm water with white grape juice (should result in the liquid being lukewarm) and yeast and stir until it has dissolved.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, whole wheat pastry flour, semolina flour, vital wheat gluten, salt and olive oil. Mix in the water, grape juice and yeast and stir for a minute with your spoon.
  3. Use your hands to knead the dough until it becomes silky and smooth. It should not be sticky.
  4. Turn the oven on briefly for about 5 minutes in the lowest setting, then turn it off.
  5. Place the dough inside the bowl and cover it with a lid or damp towel. Open the oven door and leave it sitting on the door so that it can rise in a warm place. If you want to put it under the sun, that will work too. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour.
  6. While you’re waiting for the dough, prepare the filling.
  7. Once the dough has risen twice the size, punch it down and knead it again. You may need to add a teaspoon or so of flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands.
  8. To make the Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). (If your dough is near the oven, this is the time to remove it, because you don’t want your dough to be cooked!)
  9. Be sure that you’ve soaked the shiitake mushrooms overnight and dried lily bulbs for at least 2 hours and drained all the water and rinsed it very well.
  10. Peel the onion, then dice it up into small cubes. Add a tablespoon of olive oil into the frying pan and turn the heat to medium high (5-6). Put the onions in the pan, along with a sprinkle of salt, and let it cook for about 5 minutes, be sure to stir constantly. After 5 minutes, turn the heat to medium low (4) add the ¼ cup of water and close the lid and let it cook for about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. You’ll need to stir more once the water has evaporated.
  11. Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and wrap them in aluminum foil and drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil in it to cover the garlic, then bake it in the oven for about 26-30 minutes.
  12. Crumble the tempeh into tiny little pieces and put it in a bowl with the teaspoon of soy sauce, maple syrup and dark vinegar. Stir and let it sit. Once the garlic is done, dice it up and mix it in the bowl with the tempeh.
  13. Dice the shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, mushrooms, lily bulbs and scallion into very small cubes or pieces and place them all together in one bowl.
  14. Once most of the water is gone in the onions, add the molasses and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Then, turn the heat back up to medium high (5-6) and add the shiitake mushrooms and stir and cook for a minute, then add the bowl of vegetables including the bok choy, mushrooms, lily bulbs and scallions, as well as the cornstarch, low sodium soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cooking wine and sesame oil. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
  15. Sweet_Onion_Garlic_Tempeh_Steamed_Buns_Recipe_010
  16. Finally, add the tempeh crumbles and garlic, Stir and cook for a final 2-3 minutes. Spoon everything in a bowl.
  17. To wrap the Buns: Grab a small piece of dough (be sure that all pieces of dough you grab are about equal sizes) and roll the dough into a ball, then flatten it with a rolling pin. Try and make it as flat as you can without the skin breaking, as that will make wrapping it much easier. After you finish rolling it, it should be a flat, round circle that fits inside your hands.
  18. Hold the flat piece of dough on your left hand, then add a spoonful of filling in the centre.
  19. Using your thumb and index finger, pull a small portion of the dough and fold and pleat evenly towards one direction until you’ve reached the end, then twist the centre and give it a nice swirl pattern to finish off the bun.
  20. Wrap all the buns and allow it to sit for about 15-20 minutes to rise some more.
  21. To steam the Buns: Prepare a giant steamer and start boiling water. Grab a cheesecloth and dampen it with some water, then lay it on the bottom of the steamer. Place the buns evenly on the cheesecloth, leaving plenty of space between them.
  22. Once the water starts to make a loud sound (before it’s boiled), put the steamer with the buns on the stove and steam for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit in the steamer with no open lids for another 3 minutes.

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