Today is Chinese New Year. My family loves Chinese food, but I find that takeout is never cheap because we end up getting so much food (so many items! “I’ll take an order of this and an order of that and a quart of this…”). It’s also never healthy. So, over the years, it has evolved that I make dinner for Chinese New Year. I love making it, but there’s a lot of cook time involved, especially if you go nuts and make all the things I did.
Every year I try to make something new. Last year I made egg drop soup (which is amazingly easy – chicken broth, eggs, and lemon juice). This year, I made steamed BBQ buns. This is one of our dim sum favorites and I was excited to try it myself. This is adapted from a recipe I found in Cooking Light 3 years ago and have held onto. The Cooking Light recipe uses pork, I use beef.
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp sugar
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 1/4 cups flour
3 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Combine water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Add flour, oil, and salt and stir until it forms dough. Then turn it out and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. This took only a couple of minutes for me. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or until doubled.
Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes. Knead in the baking powder and let it rest 5 minutes. Separate the dough into 10 sections.
3/4 lb sirloin, cooked until rare and thinly sliced, then diced
3 sliced green onions
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari (I always use tamari)
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
Mix ingredients together while the dough is rising and allow to sit.
When the dough is ready, roll each piece out to about a 5 inch round. Place 1/10th of the filling in the center. Gather the side and pinch together, twisting slightly.
You’re supposed to cook these in a bamboo steamer, but I don’t have one, so
I used a big saute pan, which I filled with water which I brought to a boil. I set the buns on a round pizza pan the kind with holes in it (put them on seam side down with a couple of inches between them). I covered it tightly with foil and set it on the saute pan. I allowed it to steam for 15 min, then I allowed it to rest for about 5 minutes. They were done perfectly. The dough is fluffy and light and the meat inside is rich and flavorful. These were a huge hit and I’ll probably have to make them every year!
The other dishes on the table last night were:
Fried rice: you can see my usual recipe here, this time I used zucchini, carrot, savoy cabbage, green onion, white onion, and bean sprouts
Shrimp lo mein: I boil buckwheat soba noodles with 1 head of chopped broccoli, then quickly cook 2 heads of baby bok choy with sesame oil and teriyaki sauce. I add the noodles and broccoli and about 1/2 lb of shrimp. I add more teriyaki and some tamari and stir until the shrimp are done
Edamame: I boil a bag of frozen edamame about 4 minutes, drain and cool and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt
Potstickers: I had some in the freezer fortunately, from the last time I made them. I always make these with ground turkey. I mixed up a dipping sauce of tamari, sweet and sour sauce, hoisin, ginger, green onions, and water.
We had green tea and I bought a box of fortune cookies for dessert. I wanted to make sesame chicken, but I was out of chicken!
Happy New Year!
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I am coming to your house for Chinese New Year next year! It all looks so scrumptious!
We’re looking forward to the Chinese New Year celebration in the town near ours. But I never thought I celebrating it ourselves (since we’re not Chinese.) What a wonderful tradition. I think I want to start it at our house too!!
You’re invited! I find that in the dead of winter I am happier when I can manufacture occasions to celebrate. I always make nachos for the Superbowl, king cake for Mardi Gras, corned beef and cabbage and soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day, and enchiladas for Cinco de Maya. There are two special donuts that are sold in our area for Ash Wednesday that I am thinking about attempting to learn to make myself as well.
Those steamed buns look delicious! And I’m a sucker for fried rice, though I know it’s not very good for me.
What a great idea! My daughter is taking Chinese and she’s been wanting to do something to celebrate the Chinese New Year I’ll have to forward this to her.
How fun. I would love to learn Chinese but am so intimidated at the thought of learning the characters!
If you make it yourself it can be very healthy. Add lots of veggies and limit the amount of oil. I don’t use any meat and add in 2 eggs. I don’t use more than a couple of tablespoons of oil when I make it and I make a huge amount so we have leftovers for days.
How lucky everybody in your house is to get home-cooked food like this. Will you adopt me?
Of course. There’s always room for more.
This looks so much better than the Chinese Take Away that we celebrated with. The buns are certainly on my list to make – they look wonderful.
What a GREAT idea to use the pizza pan as a bun steamer – I’ve always found it near-useless for pizza crisping, but couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. Glad I held onto it!
I considered using my electric steamer, but it wouldn’t hold the whole batch. This worked perfectly – it fit exactly over the pan just like a lid.
I’ve been meaning to try making my own steamed buns. They are one thing I miss having easy access to since moving to a rural area. Your description sounds pretty easy, so I’ll definitely give it a go. I already use a DIY arrangement to steam Chinese meatballs covered in sticky rice, so the steamer arrangement shouldn’t be a problem.
Next time I might cut little squares of parchment to set them on when they steam. They would be easier to remove then.