I love to flip through new cookbooks, leaf through culinary magazines, check out the latest food blogs and, of course, tune into the Food Network. Since I keep kosher, I come across plenty of recipes that I can't ever make – but that doesn't mean I can't find inspiration!
Spicy pork buns are a mainstay of traditional Chinese cuisine – you'll find them in just about every bakery if you venture down to Chinatown. So I can't follow the recipe exactly, but the idea of a savory, protein-filled yeast roll intrigued me. So I set out to create a kosher version – this one made with ground chicken. Of course, you can use ground beef, or even lamb if you're feeling fancy. These buns are great served at a meat meal, or a quick snack, or a cute appetizer. Enjoy!
1/3 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast*
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 – 2 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon(s) salt
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
3/4 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
coarse sea salt (optional)
Mix together the water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes until bubbly. Add the flour, salt, eggs and oil in and mix – either with a wooden spoon or the dough hook of a stand mixer – until well combined. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand, adding more flour if necessary so it is not sticky. When ready, the dough should spring back when poked with a finger.
Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a towel or cloth for 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet, and add the diced onion. Cook, stirring regularly, for 25-30 minutes, until the onions are golden brown. Add the diced garlic, and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add i the ground chicken, and cook, breaking it up with a spoon or spatula, until cooked through, and all white. Add the soy sauce, salt, pepper and paprika. Remove from the heat.
Punch down the dough and shape it into about a 10-inch log. Cut 1" pieces of the dough off and roll them as thing as you can into circles, making the edges thinner than the center. Spoon a heaping tablespoon (or more, depending on the final circle size) and pinch closed. Place on a parchment paper-lined bakin sheet. Continue with remaining pieces of dough and filling.
Cover the shaped buns with a cloth or towel and let rise another 30 minutes. Beat the egg and brush it over the buns, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Bake on 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes, until evenly browned.
*Here in Israel, active dry yeast is not available but instant dry yeast – a better product – is. If using instant dry, skip the proofing step and simply add the yeast in with the flour – but not directly to the water, use the flour as a buffer between the two.