While we were in Hong Kong, Josh and I found an amazing restaurant called Tim Ho Wan.
They only serve dim sum at the restaurant, and they have a Michelin star for doing it so well! They also happen to be one of the cheapest restaurants with a Michelin star. Who doesn’t love amazing food for a small price?!
If you aren’t familiar with it, dim sum is bite-sized portions of food that are typically served from steamer baskets. There are a lot of different kinds (and everything I’ve tried has been delicious!). If you haven’t had any before, definitely make plans to try some!
One of our favorite things at the restaurant was a barbecue pork bun. It’s sweet bun that’s super soft, but with a crispy bottom. It’s filled with bbq pork, and it’s definitely one of the best things I’ve ever eaten!
I tweaked that recipe a bit to create this one.
This is a meatless version that combines the flavors of the original bun with ingredients I have on hand on a regular basis.
Chinese Barbecue Buns
Feel free to substitute bbq pork for the filling if you prefer! It's delicious either way.
Whip the egg, coconut cream, and vanilla in with the butter.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and stir until it forms a dough.
Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.
In a sauce pan on the stove, heat on medium heat the water, flour and salt that were listed in the "roux" section.
Stir continually until the mixture is smooth and thick.
Set the roux aside to cool until it is warm but not hot.
Mix together all the dry ingredients.
Add the roux to the dry ingredients along with all the wet ingredients except for the butter. Stir until it is all combined.
Knead the dough for several minutes, then add the butter in 3 additions. Knead between each addition of butter.
Continue kneading until the dough is soft, moist, and pulls cleanly away fron the bowl.
Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2 hours).
Cook the beans following the instructions on the package, or use precooked beans. Set aside once they are soft enough to eat.
Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.
Sauté the onions and carrots with 1/2 tsp salt until the onions are translucent.
Add the garlic and ginger. Stir and cook one minute or until fragrant.
Add the spices. Stir, cooking an additional minute.
Add the water and liquid ingredients. Stir in the beans and cook it all until the sauce has reduced and thickened (for about 45 to 60 minutes). Stir occasionally. Salt to taste.
Set aside to cool.
Shape and Fill Buns
Punch down the dough after it has doubled. Divide it into 10 balls.
Roll each ball of dough out and fill with about a tablespoon of filling (use your best judgement when filling).
Seal the dough (you can use a bit of water to help it stick together). Turn it over so each roll looks like a smooth ball. If you need help filling and sealing the dough, check out the video above where it's demonstrated.
Place the buns on a parchement lined sheet.
Cover the balls of filled dough and let them rise another 30 to 45 minutes.
Coconut Egg Wash
Wisk the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.
When the filled rolls are almost finished rising, divide the crust dough into 10 balls.
Flatten the balls into round disks that won't quite cover the surface of the rolls. (They should be like hats for the rolls.)
Set the disks in the fridge until you're ready to use them.
Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
Brush the filled rolls with coconut egg wash.
Place a disk of crust on top of each roll. Pat the "hat" of crust down to fit on the buns.
Brush more coconut egg wash on top of the rolls (brushing the crust as well). Wait five minutes, then brush more coconut egg wash on the rolls. Sprinkle with coarsely ground salt.
Once the oven is heated, bake the rolls for 16-18 minutes (or until lightly browned and puffed). If you bake the rolls in two rounds, refrigerate the rolls while waiting for the first batch to bake.
The rolls are best served hot, so eat them soon! 🙂