Since I felt like making something for chinese new year again. Why not something fitting like steamed buns? Using the power of google I looked at dozens of recipes and decided to give these ones a try:
Red bean paste:
I used 1 cup of red bean (azuki) beans and let them soak overnight.
Drain and rinse. Place into a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Once boiled strain. Repeat this twice. A lot of the red will come off the bean and it will appear purple/rose in color.
From the recipes I read, its 1:3 ratio of red bean to water. Cover and bring to a simmer. Based on how long you soaked the beans, the cooking time will be affected. When it is cooked, if you use a spoon, the beans will break apart. Add more water if necessary.
Since I didn’t have a blender.. I used a collander and placed it on top of a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, i “smushed” the beans so the inside would squeeze out through leaving the shell behind. Since I like my red bean paste to have texture, I added the skins back. This is where u add sugar and salt to your taste.
Heat up a pan on high, add a few tablespoons of oil. Once the oil heats up, add the red bean into the pan and lower the heat. Constantly stir so it doesn’t stick to the pan. This will remove any remaining moisture.
Once it becomes harder to stir (it will thicken up) remove the red bean paste and place into a container and allow to cool. Use an airtight container to store in the refrigerator.
I let it set up overnight.
Next is the dough.
500g of flour, 1 tablespoon of instant rising yeast, 3 tablespoons of extra-fine sugar, 1 teaspoon of oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water.
Dissolve the yeast in 1/4th cup of warm water (stir until there are no clumps of yeast and is fully dissolved. To help the yeast activate, add a small pinch of sugar and place in a warm place – the oven until the volume doubles). Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Once the yeast is activated, place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Very simple isn’t it!
I used a korean spoon (its like a normal spoon but with a super long handle) to bring the dough together. It will be smooth at first, then sticky, but just keep on kneading for about 10 minutes. It will become smooth again. At this point, I rolled it out into a log and divided it into 12. Six of them I left alone and rolled into a ball. The other six I stuffed with red bean paste that I made the previous day (about a tablespoon).
The dough should have a elasticity, shine, and be pliable/sticky. It’s a weird texture but it works!
Let them rest for 20 minutes in a warm place to rise.
Place into a steamer and let them steam for 15 minutes (plain) and 10 minutes for the red bean mantou buns.
Lesson learned. I steamed the red bean mantou buns three at a time.
Overall it was really delicious! The buns came out really fluffy and light. Will definitely freeze half of them and save them for another day. When you make the red bean paste, add small increments of salt and sugar because there is no going back — I think i added too much salt into mine! These buns were really easy to make and only took me 30 minutes to make, knead, and roll out the dough. I will definitely make these again because the ingredients are bought in bulk and extremely easy to make.
The red bean paste recipe I generally followed: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/dessertsfruit/r/redbeanpaste.htm
The mantou recipe is from : http://kirbiecravings.com/2011/02/homemade-steamed-buns-mantou.html