A mission statement

Hello, and welcome to My Kitchen and I. Every year I choose a cuisine to explore. This year, it's the year of the Snake! And I'll be continuing to cook mostly Asian foods, particularly Chinese dishes. Have I finally found the best cuisine in the world? Come explore and cook with me and let's find out. Please feel free to share your stories and comment on anything you see here, and thanks so much for visiting. Hope you enjoy the Year of the Snake in food!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Steamed Buns with BBQ pork -- perfect food

A little while back a friend took me to an authentic tea house in St. Louis, where I had my first steamed bun. It was love at first bite. These little beauties are called baozi (包子), pronounced like you're saying bow in bow-wow followed by zit without the "t."

Steamed buns take just 15 minutes on the
stovetop and they're done. That makes
them the perfect summer bread. They're also
ideal for using up any little dab of leftover
barbecue that isn't quite enough for a meal.
Check below for more great barbecue
ideas from the #letslunch bunch!
The version I had were filled with a little barbecue pork, and they were Delicious. I have been craving them every day since eating the first one. So of course I had to learn to make them! Right away!

Can you say addictive? These certainly are.

I like them for breakfast. They're great with lunch, too. Why not have one for dinner? They'd make a nice little snack before bed. Gee, one more couldn't hurt, could it?

What is that five buns already?

I can't stop eating them!

These are ideal for using up any dab of leftover barbecue that's not quite enough for a meal. They are also a good excuse to squirrel away a couple of ribs before dinner where no one but you can find them. Save everyone else's waistline right? Because, we're thoughtful like that.

These buns will reheat well if you want to steam several at once, but the dough also keeps well for three to five days in the refrigerator or you can freeze them. That way you can steam a fresh bun any time you want. Although I warn you, that power may be dangerous to your waistline. These things are that good!

The buns only take 15 minutes on the stovetop start to finish, which is why they are the perfect summer bread. There's no oven to preheat. It's just 15 minutes on the stovetop in a bamboo steamer and then a little round ball of blissful bread filled with a delicious barbecue is all yours.

Bamboo steamers are very inexpensive and you can find them at any Asian market.  They are really very simple and easy to use. You'll want to use a little lettuce or parchment paper so food doesn't stick. Fill a pan with an inch or so of water. If the level gets low, add a little more water as the cooking proceeds.

This steaming method makes this a great beginner's bread recipe. The steam gives the bread all kinds of lift, making the dough light and fluffy even if you didn't get the kneading just right. So don't be afraid to try these even if you have never had much luck with bread recipes. This may be just the trick for you.

The small steamer has room for six buns at a time, three on each level. Or ...

You could put some sherry-soy-ginger marinated fish in the lower compartment, along with a vegetable like Chinese spinach. Voila, amazing dinner, ready in just 15 minutes. How's that for fast, fresh and frugal? I think Chinese people really know how to cook!

These buns would do well with other fillings, or even plain, but with the Fourth of July, there's bound to be plenty of barbecue on hand. This is something differently delicious to do with leftovers, likely to be small in amounts of course, since BBQ itself is so good. It might give you the excuse you need not to eat that second helping of ribs — but I don't know what you'll do about that second helping of buns. You're on your own there. :)

The method below is adapted from the excellent cookbook, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece, and Rome. I also see an excellent version in Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's book Mastering the Art of Chinese Cuisine. Both recipes omit the use of salt, but I found the buns didn't really taste right without it. You can try it both ways, and see which way seems best to you.



In a medium size bowl measure out:

4 1/4 cups regular flour

Take 2 cups of that and put into a large bowl. Add:

1 cup milk

Stir until smooth and set aside. Stir together in a small bowl:

1 1/2 T yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Let the yeast proof, adding a pinch of the dry flour. I like to add a pinch of the sugar too for good measure. When the yeast is ready, add it to the wet flour mixture along with:

1 T sesame oil
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can and knead just until smooth. Let the dough rise until double in bulk. If you are going to store your buns in the refrigerator then at this point refrigerate the dough while preparing the filling.

In a medium-sized pan, stir together:

1 T hoisin
1/2 T oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp corn starch
2 T rice wine
a pinch of ginger
2 chopped green onions

Cook the sauce until thickened. Stir the sauce into:

3/4 cup leftover barbecued pork ribs

Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Cut in half and roll each into a long cylinder. Cut the cylinders into pieces about the size of a golf ball. Make a depression in each piece and fill with 1 tsp or so of the filling. Wrap the dough around the filling and pinch the ends together, tearing off any excess dough.
These were a little too big after rising.
Golf ball size seems to work better.

Store the buns in plastic wrap by folding about two inches of plastic wrap over the first bun, just far enough that its covered. Place the next bun on top of the folded plastic wrap. Keep placing buns over and under the two-inch flap so that each bun is separated from its neighbor by plastic wrap. Leave a little space between buns. They will rise a little in the refrigerator.
The plastic wrap flap goes over
and under the buns separating each one.

When you run out of room, fold this sectioned row of buns over to completely enclose the buns. Twist the ends together and store in a ziplock bag until ready to use.
The buns will rise a little in the refrigerator.
Leave more space than I did.
To steam one or more buns, place seam side down on a square of parchment paper in a bamboo steamer.
Any filling you like will work in these.
I like bbq pork with sesame seeds on top.

Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes. Place an inch or so of water in a pan and set the steamer in the pan.

You can drizzle a little sesame oil on the top of the buns at this stage and sprinkle some sesame seeds on the buns if you wish. A little sesame oil in the water won't hurt a thing, it will help infuse the buns with flavor.

With the buns in the steamer bath, turn the burner on for about 15 minutes. You'll get a little extra rise this way. Once the water boils I would turn down the heat to let the water simmer gently, steaming the buns to perfection.

Now go enjoy your perfect summer bread with a nice bowl of your favorite Asian soup and a bottle of Blue Moon. Well that's what I did with mine anyway. :)

Is that two buns on my plate?
Why yes, I believe so!
Now how on earth did that happen?

More great barbecue ideas coming soon from the #letslunch bunch. Keep checking this post, there are more links to great recipes incoming soon!

Aleana‘s Home-made Ketchup, Relish & Mustard (BBQ-Friendly Condiments) at Eat My Blog
Charissa‘s Grilled Pulled-Pork Pizza with Roasted Corn (Gluten-Free) at Zest Bakery
Emma‘s Miso-Glazed Grilled Veggies and Polenta at Dreaming of Pots and Pans
Grace‘s Working Mama’s Pork Tenderloin Bao at HapaMama
Jill‘s Steven Raichlen Ribs Interview at Eating My Words
Joe‘s Grilled Cabbage (and Smoky Cabbage and Udon Slaw) at Joe Yonan
Lisa‘s BBQ Salmon with Tahini Dressing and Fresh Herb Salad at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lucy‘s Taj Ma Hog & Not-So-Secret BBQ Sauce at A Cook and Her Books
Nancie‘s Thai Grilled Chicken Wings with Sweet Hot Garlic Sauce at Nancie McDermott
Pat‘s Korean-Style Beef Shortribs (Kalbi) at The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook
Renee's Steamed Buns with BBQ Pork at My Kitchen And I
Cheryl's Chicken Satay BBQ Singapore style at A Tiger in the Kitchen


  1. What a great idea to use up leftover BBQ ribs. If I ever had any leftover ribs! And no, I can't stop at just one...

  2. What usually happens is I'll have one, maybe two ribs leftover. Not enough for a meal. So I'll eat them, even though I'm already stuffed. But this is definitely a recipe worth saving one or two ribs for, so maybe that won't happen any more haha! :)

  3. I would eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner, too! Love the step by step tutorial!

  4. Are you recommending that you make them, steam them then freeze them? or make them, freeze them, then steam them when ready to eat?


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