Guess who’s got her oven back? THIS GIRL. I’m very happy about it and you can expect some baked goodies later this week. But over the past couple of weeks I had to get very resourceful at times. Not that there aren’t plenty of things to be made without an oven, but basically- I had to outsmart myself. You see, I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed. It’s mostly just that I’m terrible at multi-tasking, yet I never seem to have a choice. There’s always SO much to do!
So last week I had a friend over for dinner. The meal I had planned felt too disjointed and I wanted something to pull it all together. Aha, I thought! Dinner rolls! I made the dough. I left it for the first rise and went back to work. An hour later I punched down the dough. I looked at my oven and did a double take. I HAD NO OVEN. I wondered if any of my neighbors wanted dough. Then I remembered my bamboo steamer! I bought this thing several years ago after having some amazing pork buns at Momofuku and then promptly forgot about it. I figured what the hell. Into the steamer went my dinner buns. And you know what? They came out perfect. Crisis averted (though the buns were a bit odd with my decidedly non-Asian themed meal).
I’ve been wanting to make kimchi dumplings on the site for awhile but steamed kimchi buns seemed like the new obvious game plan. If you’re unfamiliar with it, kimchi is a fermented Korean dish made from vegetables and seasonings. I’m very lucky because I live in an area with numerous Asian markets that sell fresh kimchi. There’s also a vendor who sells it at the farmer’s market I frequent every Sunday. If you can’t find ready-made kimchi there are many recipes online. You can also go in a different direction and fill the buns with BBQ pork or sauteed veggies. The one trick is to make sure you’re filling isn’t too wet or it will effect the dough. The farmer’s market kimchi has a lot of liquid, so I squeeze most of it out before using. This recipe might be very different from what’s traditionally used in dim sum, but I loved the results! They’ll be good with plain soy sauce but I’ve included a recipe for a simple. tasty dipping sauce.
- 1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoons yeast
- 1 tablespoons potato starch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons nonfat dried milk
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons soft butter
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 cup kimchi, chopped
- 1/2 cup soy or tamari sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- a drop of chili oil (or more to taste)
- optional: cilantro, chopped
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- Place all ingredients except the salt and kimchi in a stand mixer with the dough attachment. Start on low speed to allow the ingredients to mix. After a minute sprinkle in the salt (it can hinder the yeast if added too soon).
- Turn the speed up to medium and allow the dough to kneed for several minutes until smooth.
- Remove the dough and lightly oil the inside of the mixing bowl.
- Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let rise for 60 minutes.
- Deflate the dough and cut into 8 even pieces (start by cutting it in half, then those pieces in half, etc).
- Use paper towels to drain some of the excess moisture from the kimchi so it doesn't saturate the dough.
- Lightly oil an 8x8 or 9x9 cake pan.
- To make the buns, stretch one piece of dough in your hands to about 4-5 inches in diameter, leaving the center a bit thicker. It should look like a large ravioli. You can press the edges with your fingers to help thin them out. You want the ends to be thin because they're going to overlap to create the bottom of the bun.
- Place a tablespoon of kimchi in the center of the dough. Pull the ends over the kimchi and pinch the bottom together. Flip the bun over, gently reshape it into a proper circle if necessary and place in the cake pan. Repeat until you have 8 buns.
- Cover the cake pan and allow the dough to rise for another hour.
- Place squares of parchment in the bottom of a bamboo steamer. Lay out the buns and place the steamer over a wok or large sauce pot.
- Steam the buns over simmering water for 25 minutes. Be careful when you remove them from the heat, the steam gets very hot!
- To make the dipping sauce, whisk together all ingredients.
- Best served hot or warm.
Bun recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour