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steamed beef buns

Steamed buns were a big part of my life. I think I had them at least two - three times a week. My dad would even use these buns to soak up some extra sauce from his famous (to our family) saucy beef dish. No matter, if they were plain and served with american yellow cheese, sweet and stuffed with custard, or filled with meat, they were always in my freezer ready to be steamed and devoured. They always came out fluffy, soft, and infamously snow white so as I was trying out the super super bleached flour to get the right color for them I came to realized that they tasted a lot like chemicals due to the over bleaching of the flour. Instead of trying to get the right color I decided to just use really good flour and forget that my boa won't be white as snow. Don't worry though, I got over really fast when they came out delicious.

Another thing I love to do when making these buns is to not use any heavy or fattening products. Normally, steamed buns are made with milk for that creamy flavor but I find that it really weights them down. It makes the buns too dense and heavy rather than light and fluffy. I ended up swapping out the whole milk for water and some instant milk powder. This give the buns a that creamy flavor without making the buns too dense!

This recipe is perfect for any kind of steam bun you would like to make. I really love the plain, beef, chicken, and cabbage ones the best but I was really feeling beef this weekend so I filled mine with a very tender and well seasoned beef. I made sure to caramelize the onion, sear the spices, and add tons of fresh herbs like scallion and parsley to really amp up the flavor. I was also worried that when you steam the meat they would release too much liquid that would then soak into the bun and dry out the meat so a good way to prevent that was to add some cornstarch to the mix!

Just like the ones you see in stores, these freeze up really well. Once they are done steaming, let them cool off I just throw them into a ziplock bag and steam them for 5 minutes whenever you are craving a bun or just have no time to eat anything in the morning!

To see more pictures and videos on these steamed beef buns check out my instagram @threehungrybellies

Steamed Beef Buns

Recipe makes 8 buns


For the steamed buns:

  • 30 grams warm water

  • 1 tablespoon yeast

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 400 grams flour, little bit more for kneading

  • 50 grams sugar

  • 6 grams of salt

  • 200 grams of water & 3 tablespoons of dry milk powder (produces a lighter bun, if not use 225 grams milk)

  • 1 tbsp of oil

For the filling:

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil

  • 1 teaspoon of five spice powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon of aleppo pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

  • 1/2 pound of ground beef (85/15)

  • 2 tablespoons of chopped scallions

  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic

  • 1 teaspoon shioxing cooking wine

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar

my favorite dipping sauces:

  • chill oil

  • black vinegar

  • soy sauce


For the steamed buns & assembly:

  1. In a large bowl combine the warm water, yeast, and honey and let it sit until it blooms. (About 5 minutes)

  2. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and knead by hand for about 10 minutes or until it comes into one smooth and cohesive dough.

  3. Let it proof for about 1 1/2 hour and in the mean time work on your filling*

  4. Once it has proofed, take it out of the bowl and gently push out the air.

  5. Roll it into a log and cut into 10 -12 equal pieces.

  6. Flatten each ball into a circle making sure that the center is thicker than the edge. You will be pulling from the center so everything will even out in the end.

  7. Scoop about 2 tablespoons worth of filling into the center of the circle and slowly pleat them the bun closed.

  8. Place them onto a small piece of parchment and let them proof for about 30 - 45 minutes or until visibly puffy.

  9. While they are going through their second rise, you can get the steaming station ready.

  10. Get a large pot or a wok filled with water about 1/3 of the way up. Then place a bamboo steaming basket on top of that being sure that the basket is not touching the water.

  11. Set the flame to medium high heat and let it come to a boil and get all steamy.

  12. Add your buns and set a timer for 12 minutes.

  13. Once they are done serve them with your favorite dipping sauce and some garlic box choy.

For the filling*:

  1. In a skillet add in your diced onion, sesame oil, and avocado oil and let them cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. You want them to be super soft and translucent.

  2. Then add in your all your dry spices (five spice powder, cumin, aleppo pepper, salt, & pepper). Mix this in with your caramelized onion and let them cook for about 1 minute.

  3. Pour the onion mix into a large bowl and let cool.

  4. Add the rest of your ingredients to the bowl and mix to combine.

  5. Use whenever you are ready :)

** Depending on how warm or cold your kitchen is will affect how long it takes your buns to rise. **

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My favorite appliances that help me create all my recipes! 
Cusinart: It was a birthday present I got that I use all the time to make doughs, smoothies, sauces, & during the holiday it has a permenant place on my counter 
Cast Iron: Comes pre seasoned, ready to use after a quick wash and makes some great eggs in the morning! Along with searing meats, toasting bread, & you can't forget corn bread!
Kitchen Aid: Literally a bakers best friend. It comes with a glass bowl so taking photos is a blast. Its really an investment but one worth making!

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