No flowers or hearts over at the Skewer House, but I couldn’t resist a bit of cuteness over the weekend. Look! Bunny shaped steamed buns. I’d been flicking through a book called Delicious Dim Sum (recipes by Chin Woo Loong) when I first saw them. You could say it was love at first sight :).
These buns are filled with a sweet lotus paste, and I thought I’d try my hand at making my own. Only because I couldn’t find any ready-made, not because I’m slightly masochistic ok? I used 100g dried lotus seeds, and consulted a couple of recipes found here and here. After recalculating the ingredient ratios, I also made a couple of changes:
1) I soaked the lotus seeds for about 6 hours in cold water to reduce boiling time.
2) Instead of alkaline water, I added a pinch of baking soda when boiling. This is supposed to help soften the seeds easily. I’d heard that this method decreases the nutritional value of food, but hey, no one ever said these buns were meant to be healthy!
3) Instead of peanut oil, I used sunflower oil as it tastes quite neutral.
4) Instead of maltose/ honey, I used golden syrup, and omitted the condensed milk.
5) The resulting paste wasn’t as fine as could be, so I pushed it through a sieve.
Dried lotus seeds (ready skinned). Make sure to remove any skin and the green shoot in the middle otherwise the paste will be bitter.
I ended up with about a cupful of lovely lotus seed paste. The paste cooked really quickly after the initial sugar-caramelisation process, and I’d definitely make it again.
The baby bunny buns were also quite quick to throw together, and were eaten even faster! The MC’s loved them so much, I decided to make a different type of steamed bun known as mantou. Chocolate Mantou. And then I hit upon either a fusion faux-pas or brilliant mash-up depending on your point of view : Nutella filled steamed buns.
I’m going with brilliant because they.were.awesome. Imagine a warm, soft sweet bread filled with melting Nutella. I repeat. Awesome. (Pity I didn’t make them in time for World Nutella Day.)
So, forget the box of chocolates today, if you want to impress, try your hand at Nutella filled steamed buns :).
By the way if you live in Sydney, and would like to try some Malaysian food, there’s a Malaysian food market on this Wednesday (16th) to Friday (18th) , at the State Theatre Laneway. Find out more here. .
And, how about spreading some Malaysian food love? Join our Muhibbah Malaysian Monday event. This time around (#8), the round-up will be hosted by Suresh of 3 Hungry Tummies . Please send your entries to sureshchong(at)yahoo(dot)com.
And cos I love you dear readers, here’s a recipe for:
Chocolate Mantou dough :)
The bunny dough is pretty similar but has added shortening, and no proving time, I’ve added that information below as well.
(adapted from Delicious Dim Sum, compiled by Wong Kee Sum, recipes by Chin Woo Long)
For the dough:
300g low protein flour (cake flour). I initially made my bunnies with AP flour and they were fine but I found I had to add lots of water to the dough.
5 gm instant yeast (just under a sachet. Our sachets weigh 7g)
5g baking powder
112g lukewarm water (about 1/2 cup) - I found I needed more both times. At least 1/4 cup more in both cases, definitely more when using AP flour.
for chocolate mantou: about 3 teaspoons cocoa powder, mixed into a paste with 3 teaspoons boiling water (may need teeny bit more water).
Place sugar, yeast and 1/2 cup water in a bowl or jug and leave for five minutes. (You don’t really need this step when using instant yeast but I like to do this to check if my yeast is still “working”).
Place flour and baking powder into a large bowl (I also added a pinch of salt), make a well in the centre and add all the water. Mix well then knead until a smooth dough is formed (took me at least 10 minutes hand kneading). I also found at this stage I needed to add more water, a tablespoon at a time.
To make the mantou, divide the dough in half. Leave half the dough plain, and mix the other half with the cocoa powder paste until well incorporated. Roll out the plain dough into a rectangular shape. Roll out the cocoa dough into roughly the same size and shape, then brush the plain dough with a little water and place the cocoa dough on top and press down lightly.
Layers of dough and impatient testers
Trim the edges (I used a pizza cutter), and save the offcuts to make Nutella filled buns :). Roll up from the longest sides (like making a swiss roll), then use a sharp knife to slice pieces off the roll. I ended up with about 7 pieces, these end up being the mantou, so make them the size you want your mantou to be.
Leave the mantou to prove for about half and hour.
Steam the rolls without crowding as they expand when cooked. I cooked mine in batches. To test if cooked, carefully press one, it should bounce back. My rolls took about 6-7 minutes to cook.
Save any leftover rolls in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure to steam and reheat before serving. Cold steamed buns aren’t very appetising.
To make the bunnies, add about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil when mixing the dough. The recipe called for shortening but I didn’t have any. Roll the dough into a long log, then cut pieces off the log. Flatten the pieces into circles, place a little lotus seed paste in the middle and pinch the endges together to seal. Run a little water around the edges to help stick. Shape the balls of dough into ovals, then steam straight away until cooked (about 7-8 minutes for me).
When cooked, and cooled, use some scissors (I used a sharp knife, it worked better) to cut ears and a tail. Stick on some black sesame seeds for eyes (i just dabbed on some water and it stuck).