Chinese Coconut Buns

Makes 12 buns

Ingredients

The bread dough:
⅔ cup heavy cream (at room temperature)
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon milk (at room temperature)
1 large egg (at room temperature)
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup cake flour
3½ cups bread flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1½ teaspoons salt

The filling:
6 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons caster sugar or superfine sugar
3 tablespoons cake flour
¼ cup dry milk powder
½ cup desiccated coconut

The toppings:
⅓ cup cake flour
3 tablespoons softened butter
4 ½ teaspoons caster sugar or superfine sugar
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

Instructions

Start by making the bread dough, and be sure your ingredients are at room temperature. In the bowl of a mixer, add the heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt (in that order). Using the dough hook attachment, turn on the mixer at its lowest setting.
Let it go for 15 minutes, occasionally stopping the mixer to push the dough together. (Note: if you’re in a humid climate, and the dough is too sticky, add more flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough comes together). After 15 minutes, the dough is ready for proofing. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough will grow to about 1.5X its original size.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by thoroughly combining all the filling ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
After the bread dough has proofed for an hour, put the dough back in the mixer and knead slowly for another 5 minutes to get rid of air bubbles. Dump the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 equal pieces.
Flatten each piece of dough with your hands into a rough oval shape, about 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. Spread about a tablespoon of filling onto the middle of the dough, and roll it into a cigar, tucking the ends under the bun to completely seal the filling in. We like this method because it evenly distributes the filling throughout the bun.
Transfer the buns to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. For the topping, mix together ⅓ cup cake flour, 3 tablespoons softened butter, and 4 ½ teaspoons caster sugar, and transfer to a piping bag or small zip top bag with a small corner cut off. Set aside.
Once the buns have risen, brush with egg wash. Pipe two stripes of your topping mixture onto each bun, and sprinkle each with sesame seeds. Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and brush with the sugar syrup.

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Vegan Tofu Buns

Ingredients
For the dough:
1 cup warm water, separated in two ½ cup portions
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour, divided
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 block extra firm tofu (drained, pat dry and cut into ½-inch cubes)
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon dark soy sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
white pepper, to taste
1 ¼ cups water or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons flour

Sugar water to coat the buns:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons warm water

Instructions

Start by making the dough. Add ½ cup warm water, 1 teaspoon active dry yeast and ⅓ cup flour to a large bowl, and mix well. Set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes until the mixture foams up.
Mix the coconut oil into the foamy yeast mixture until you can’t see any solids and then mix in the remaining ½ cup of warm water. Add the last 2⅔ cups flour, vital wheat gluten, sugar, and salt. Mix in until a dough forms. Knead for 10 minutes. You can add some flour to make it easier to work with, but don’t worry if it’s a bit sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof for 1 hour.
While that’s happening, make the filling. Heat your wok or cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add the oil, onions and tofu. Cook for 3-5 minutes until one side of the tofu is just browned. Turn the mixture over with a rubber spatula and brown the other side. Feel free to add more oil if the mixture looks a bit dry.
Add the soy sauces, sugar, salt, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, and white pepper. Stir everything together and then add the water/vegetable stock and flour. Stir gently so as not to break up the tofu chunks.
Let the mixture simmer until the liquid thickens into a sauce. It should thicken further as it cools. Set the mixture aside to cool completely before making the buns. If the mixture looks a little wet, you can put it in the fridge to solidify it for easier assembly.
Once the dough has proofed for an hour, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead for another 2-3 minutes to ensure most of the air bubbles are gone. Add just enough flour so you can knead it, but be careful not to dry out the dough. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel.
Roll out each dough ball into a disc, where the middle of the disc is a bit thicker than the sides. Put about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center and fold up the edges to close the bun. The dough is fairly elastic, so you can stretch it to cover the filling if needed. Be sure to pinch it closed, and place it seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Keep all the dough balls and the finished buns covered with damp towels until they’re all assembled. Let the buns sit for another 10 minutes while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together the sugar and warm water and brush the mixture onto the buns. Place the buns in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Brush the buns with the remaining sugar water when they come out of the oven. Serve warm!
Tip: Store these buns in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat one, heat it up in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.

Chinese Walnut Cookies

Ingredients
2 cups cake flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten and divided in half
¾ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts, plus 12 raw walnut halves

Instructions

Sift the cake flour, baking soda and baking powder together and set aside. Mix the butter, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly until the butter and sugar are creamed. Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Add half of the beaten egg. Add the chopped walnuts and work the mixture into a dough ball. You can do all of this by hand or with an electric mixer.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a clean surface, roll the dough ball into a tube, and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball and position them on the baking sheet a couple inches apart. All of the cookies should fit onto one pan.
Take the walnut halves and gently press one into each cookie. Let the cookies rest for 15 to 20 minutes, covered with a clean kitchen towel.
While that’s happening, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once the dough is done resting, brush each with the other half of the beaten egg you omitted from the cookie dough and then bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cookies sit inside the oven for another 5 minutes before taking them out. Let cool and enjoy!

Quick Pan Fried Noodles

This is an “I’m starving” quick, easy and cheap student recipe.

Ingredients
1 package Hong Kong Style Pan-Fried Noodles
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Lao Gan Ma spicy black bean sauce
Vegetable oil, for cooking

Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the noodles and boil for one minute. Drain.
Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Take about a quarter of the noodles and spread them evenly in the pan.
Let them cook until golden brown on both sides. Slide onto a serving plate and toss with about two teaspoons of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and some hot sauce.

Manchego Toast with Olives

This is a use up your leftover condiments recipe.

Ingredients
1 cup Spanish green olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 clove garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 baguette, sliced
2-3 tablespoons softened butter
1 ½ cups grated Manchego cheese (you can also substitute parmesan, asiago, whatever you want)
fresh black pepper

Instructions

Rinse the olives and place them in a food processor along with the capers, garlic, lemon zest, sugar, and olive oil. Pulse for about 2 minutes, until smooth.
Spread one side of each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter and place onto a sheet pan. Toast lightly under the broiler (set to low), for about 1-2 minutes. Flip over and toast for another minute.
Spread tapenade onto each toast (the unbuttered side) and sprinkle with cheese. Broil until cheese is melted. Garnish the toasts with plenty of lemon zest and cracked black pepper.

Pan Fried Noodles with Hoisin Sauce

HOISIN SAUCE

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce (more or less to taste)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: mix well

NOODLES

Ingredients
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon shaoxing wine or dry sherry (optional)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
8 oz. fresh Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles (pan-fried noodles, not “wonton noodles”) or 3 bundles dried Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles
3 tablespoons oil
1 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

In a small bowl, mix together the honey, hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, shaoxing wine (if using), and white pepper. Set aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Fresh noodles should be boiled for about 1 minute. For dried noodles, boil for 2-3 minutes. Rinse the noodles in cool water and drain thoroughly.
The next step is very similar to our Cantonese Soy Sauce Pan Fried Noodles recipe, so if you have tried that recipe, this should be a snap! Heat the wok over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Spread the noodles across the surface of the wok in a thin, even layer, and swirl the wok to distribute the oil. Cook over medium to medium high heat until the noodles are crisp, about 5 minutes.
Flip the noodles over and add another tablespoon of oil around the perimeter of the wok to let the other side crisp up. Don’t stress if you can’t turn the noodles over in one shot. The goal here is just to get the noodles to crisp evenly. You want them to be pretty dry, so that the sauce caramelizes when you add it.
Keep the heat at medium and add that last tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the sauce. Toss the noodles around for another 3 minutes, until they’re all coated and the sauce is caramelized. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

Vegetarian Dumplings

Ingredients
For the dumpling wrappers (alternatively, you can just buy a package of pre-made dumpling wrappers):
3½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons tepid water
For the filling:
3 tablespoons oil, plus ¼ cup
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1½ cups cabbage, finely shredded
1½ cups carrot, finely shredded
1 cup garlic chives (Chinese chives), finely chopped
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
salt, to taste

Instructions

Start by making the dough for the dumpling wrappers. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the water to the flour and knead into a smooth dough. This process should take about 10 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for an hour.
In the meantime, make the filling. In a wok or large skillet over medium high heat, add 3 tablespoons oil and add the ginger. Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onions and stir-fry until translucent.
Add the chopped mushrooms and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and any liquid released by the mushrooms has cooked off.
Add the cabbage and carrots and stir-fry for another 2 minutes, until the veggies are tender and all the liquid released has been cooked off. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
To the bowl, add the chopped chives, white pepper, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and sugar. Season with salt to taste (though the soy sauce will usually add enough salt to the filling), and stir in the last ¼ cup of oil.
To assemble the dumplings, cut the dough into small tablespoon-sized pieces. Roll each out into a circle, and pleat the dumplings (see this post for step-by-step photos on how to fold a dumpling). Continue assembling until you’ve run out of filling and/or dough.
To cook the dumplings, steam them or pan-fry them. To steam, put the dumplings in a steamer lined with a bamboo mat, cabbage leaf, or cheese cloth, and steam for 15-20 minutes.
To pan-fry, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Place the dumplings in the pan and allow to fry for 2 minutes. Pour a thin layer of water into the pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow dumplings to steam until the water has evaporated. Remove the cover, increase heat to medium-high and allow to fry for a few more minutes, until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown and crisp.
Serve with soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, chili sauce, or other dipping sauce of your choice!