We have been a couple busy beavers up here in Tacoma! Will is currently in Copenhagen on a work trip, having a great time from what I can tell. He has this cool opportunity as a study away advisor to work with one of the outside programs our university partners with and basically be a study away student for the week at the partner institution – he’s going to classes, is staying with a host family, and doing study tour activities, all to familiarize himself with the intimate details of the program. How many ways can you spell jealous?!?!?!
But it’s okay. Back here on the West Coast, the cats and I have been living it up, with early morning meowing, the seasonal unearthing of the space heater (their favorite!!), and some super great snuggle time. I’ve even been cooking, in Will’s absence! Like every other time he’s been away, I of course over planned because I forget prepping food for one lasts a whoooooole lot longer than prepping food for two. Did I accidentally double my lunch recipe out of habit and now have too much? Maybe (weekend leftovers!). Did I also choose a couple recipes for dinner, not realizing my soup recipe that serves 6 would offer me food for every single night he’s gone? Quite possibly. Did I also happen to drop that soup pot when taking it out of the fridge the other night and lose a whole serving to the bottom of the fridge? Definitely. So at least I helped myself out there.
Either way, while the cats and I are missing Will, I’ve at least been keeping busy enough with a crazy week at work, that I’ve barely found time to do the things I wanted to do while he was gone – catch up on some posts and practice clarinet! It’s 11PM on Wednesday and one of those is happening (hint: I’m not torturing my neighbors with scales right now). Alas, I have rediscovered the trove of drafted recipes I’ve been sitting on for a couple weeks. To begin, I present you with: Vegetarian Steamed Buns! Everyone loves a good steamed bun., including us. Do these look intimidating? You bet. But were they 200% worth the effort? Ab-so-freakin-lute-ly. Maybe you’re like us and you don’t have the right steamer. Maybe you’re worried about making a dough and it failing to rise properly. Or maybe you’re not sure how you feel about attempting something that looks intimidating. But if these pictures reflect anything, it’s that you can do it! Why, you ask? Because I did! Me, Megan! The chef extrodi-failure! The girl who dropped her pot of soup in her own refrigerator. Will assisted me with this recipe, but I’d say a solid 85% of it was my doing – the prep, the dough, the pinching/pleating/folding, etc. Will manned the steaming station (and plating for the pictures), but only because I was working on pinching/pleating/folding simultaneously. If I can make these, anyone can. But seriously – they’re a fun, puffy main or side dish. Serve with the suggested sauce or a better alternative that you come up with (and let us know in the comments!).
Cooking Notes: We followed this recipe to the “t” since it was a little out of the box for us. We did come up with our own sauce recipe though, listed below.
Vegetarian Steamed Buns (adapted from The Kitchn; makes 8 buns and approx. 4 servings)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp sesame oil, plus extra for rolling out dough
1/2 cup lukewarm stock or water
1/2 small cabbage
1 spring onion or green onion, diced fine
2 tbsp fresh peeled ginger, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Mix flour, yeast, baking powder, sugar and salt together. Add the sesame oil and stir lightly, then slowly mix in the water and stir to combine. Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until the dough is smooth, approx. 5 minutes. Fill a large bowl with 3″ or so of hot water. Place the dough ball into a medium bowl, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and put in the larger bowl. Place in the oven or microwave and let rise for at least 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
While the dough rises, prep your filling. Steam the cabbage for 1 minute, then drain the water as much as you can. Chop the cabbage finely, then add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix thoroughly; set aside.
Once the dough has double, knead lightly to get rid of any air pockets. Roll into a cylinder
on a floured board, then cut into 8 equal pieces. Put a drop or two of sesame oil in your hands (per dough ball) and roll each piece into a ball and place under a wet kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes, to rise again.
Roll out the dough into 4″ diameter circles, then place a small ball of filling in the center. Fold up, forming pleats, twisting the dough to seal the buns. Place on parchment paper sheets. Once all buns are prepped, place into a bamboo steamer/rice cooker/double-decker pot with a steamer, and steam for 15-20 minutes.* The buns should double in size. Set aside to let cool and make your sauce.
For sauce, mix 2:1 oyster sauce to sriracha, with sesame seeds drizzled in – whisk! Once sauce is prepped, serve with buns, dip and enjoy!
*For ours, we have a double-stacked pot and steamer pot. So we filled the bottom pot with boiling water, then placed the parchment paper in the steamer on top, before placing the buns in to steam it. Took a little longer than a proper bamboo steamer, but it worked!