Saturday, June 13, 2009

Steamed scallion and sausage buns dee-luxe version

The steamed scallion rolls I made a while back were good, but they were simple and straightforward. I was making another batch because they're such convenient snack food and I thought I'd complicate them up a little to a) see if I could improve the recipe and b) get a blog post out of it.

The dough stayed nearly the same:
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
3 Tablespoons sugar [I reduced this last time]
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk

Mixed, rested, kneaded, risen and rolled out.

For the filling I used:
4 Tablespoons chopped scallions
4 Tablespoons chopped garlic chives
1 link lop chong, microwaved one minute to partially cook and then sliced thin and chopped
1 chunk Chinese bacon about the same size as the lop chong, chopped and pan fried until cooked through
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons sesame oil

If you compare, you can see that this coats the dough rather more densely and a lot more oilily. Part of that is the extra fillings, but I've also got a new somewhat smaller cutting board and couldn't roll the dough out as thin.

I rolled it up, sliced it into 2-inch segments, stood them up, let them rise and then steamed them for 13 minutes to cook through.

You can see the earlier version for more details if you're interested. I want to talk about how things went wrong here, because these aren't nearly as good as the first batch.

First off, take a look at these two rolls. See how the one on the left is deflated? That's what happens when you have too much water in your steamer leading to lots of dripping off of the cover. That roll was boiled, not steamed. I had nearly boiled dry over the three batches I steamed last time so I was being careful to have lots of water this time. Better to have just added some water after the second batch.

Second, there are some problems with the flavor. I described the dough last time as mild, but it was a nice sweet contrast to the savory fillings. Here it's been coated in sesame oil and its flavor can't come through. And that contrast between the mildly sweet dough and bright savory of the isolated bits of filling really worked. Here the contrast is between the light flavor of the lop chong and the heavy soy flavor of the bacon. One problem is that Chinese bacon shouldn't be fried as I burn the soy coating a little. You can find the pairing in recipes for sticky rice and turnip cake so they can work well together, but they need other strong flavors and textures in there too and this bun has nothing that can stand up to them. A baked bun, I think, might have had a chance.

And I'm disappointed that I can't taste the garlic chives at all. Darn. Both Chinese bacon and garlic chives go well with eggs so what I really wanted to do was to make another sort of Chinese bun I've had that uses all three, but I couldn't find a recipe. Just now doing some more research on Chinese bacon I find that the reason I couldn't find a recipe is that the creamy filling that works so well with the bacon and chives isn't a custard, it's a mayonaise. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Anyway, the lesson here is that scallion and sausage rolls work best just like that. Make my original version (and you should. It was really good and hard very hard.) with maybe some extra scallion, but that's the only change you should make.

1 comment:

kat said...

I do want to try your original version of these, I so like this type of bun