Pork buns are a sweet delight that is always a welcome part of yum cha / dim sum.
It is fascinating to watch experienced chefs whip them up effortlessly, as if second nature. It is such an ordeal for me, but generally worth it. The preparation of the dough alone is a challenge, but the Thermomis helps speed up and simplify the process.
I have outlined a traditional method below adapted for the Thermomix, but in Melbourne, you can get a packet mix for the buns from Vietnamese grocers which is much easier:
Mix the flour mixture in the package with 1 cup of fresh milk and 1/2 cup of sugar. Knead dough well for 3 minutes and then add 1 tbsp of cooking oil. Continue to knead again for 1 minute. Leave aside for 30 minutes.
Pork Buns in the Varoma
Number of Buns: 12
250 ml water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
310 g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
250 g Chinese barbecued pork, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
To make the dough, place water into TM bowl and add the sugar, 1 Tbsp of the flour and yeast. Stir for 10 minutes at 37°C on speed 1 to dissolve the sugar and activate the yeast. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes.
Add the remaining flour and vegetable oil into TM bowl and mix for 20 seconds on speed 6. Then set to closed lid and knead for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, or until smooth and elastic. Brush a large bowl with the sesame oil and put the dough in the bowl, turning it around in the bowl to coat it all with the oil. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for at least 3 hours.
Lift the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch the dough down and flatten into a large round. Sprinkle the baking powder in the centre of the circle, bringing the edges up towards the centre. Firmly press the edges together, then place the dough back into the TM bowl and knead the dough for a further 2 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll into balls. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.
Clean the TM bowl and place the pork chunks into the bowl. Chop for 2 seconds on speed 7, add the oil and cook for 3 minutes
at 100°C on speed 1. Add the oyster sauce, sugar, rice wine, sesame oil and soy sauce and cook for 3 minutes at 100°C on speed 1. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool.
Take each ball of dough and press it onto a lightly floured surface to form a circle 12 cm in diameter. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the centre of each dough circle, then bring the edges up to the centre. Press the edges firmly together. Sit each bun on a 5 cm square piece of baking paper.
Place pork buns on each layer of Varoma and cover with lid.
Add 600 ml water and 2 tbsp vinegar (to help keep the buns white) to the TM bowl and position Varoma on lid and steam for 25 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 2. After 20 minutes take the lid off the Varoma and continue to steam.
Serve buns warm.