Wow Bao! Steamed Asian Buns with Sweet Red Bean Paste!

I’ve taken quite a nice long break from writing here. But I just want you all to know I haven’t been slacking in the kitchen. Just tonight Hec and I were impressed that we have rarely repeated recipes and are still quite active in the kitchen since I’ve gotten a job. But I just haven’t found the time to take photos or process with my friends about the creations we’ve been making. The working world is rought, I tell you. Mom…I don’t know how you worked all day, got home at 5:30 and started cooking right away. Its a hard life.

In Chicago there is a restaurant called Wow Bao. They serve “hot asian buns”, a term we donned upon a friend who literally had hot asian buns (you all know who I’m talking about).

I think about these buns often (the ones you eat, that is). Last Friday when I saw an advertisement for a new dim sum restaurant here in Guate, on Sunday we went for brunch. This item was on the top of my list to order. And after trying them, in their sweet, soft, chewy goodness, we thought how hard could they be to make. So we went home, searched our food blogs, and mixed up a batch. The mix was actually improvised, based upon my favorite bun mixture, but I forgot the egg. However I was startled by how they almost exactly resembled the buns we had in the morning. I think the real trick is to steam them.

We filled them with sweet bean paste, mainly because we had beans, and that is one of Hec’s favorite asian desserts. Some we didn’t put anything in, and they were delicious alone. If filled, I prefer them with a savory filling. Be creative, use whatever you want!

Wow Bao Buns with Sweet Bean Paste

Dough:
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1.5 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar
3.25-4 cups flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoon baking powder

Sweet Bean Paste:
3/4 cup red or black beans, cooked and pureed
1/4 cup brown sugar
Directions:

1. Mix water (warmed), butter (melted), sugar, and salt until all disolved. Add 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon instant yeast, and 1 teaspoon baking power. Mix until smooth. Add one more cup of flour and combine. Slowly add a tablespoon at a time, .25 t0 .75 cups of the flour. After just barely sticky, begin kneading the dough, about 10 minutes. Add just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Let rise in a warm place, covered, for about 2 hours.

2. Knead in remaining 1 teaspoon baking powder slowly, for about 3 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces. Roll into balls and flatten into disks about 5-6 inches in diameter, thinner on the edges and thicker in the center.

3. Place a tablespoon or two of your desired filling in the center, and make it into a little bag, pinching together the seams to seal.

4. Bring water to a boil. Arrange the rolls on squares of parchment paper and place in the steam basked about .5 inch apart. I only fit 4 buns in the steamer at a time. Carefully place the lid on the steamer and seal it well.

5. Steam for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, careful not to drip. Place the hot asian buns on a clean dish towel to mop up any condensation. Serve hot! Enjoy!!

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