“If you could live with only one kind of food for the rest of your life. What would it be?”
This was a question my husband (by then boyfriend) asked me when the first time he cooked for me.
“It has to be the Buns!” I answered.
For a person from north China, the buns to me is like the pizza to an Italian. I need it!
I remember during the last year of high school, when I, as all the students in China who wanted to enter the top universities in the country, needed to study until mid-night, the buns were my go-to snack. My grandma would leave 1 or 2 in the steaming pot, and I would go to heat them up in the late evening to energize myself to sustain for more hours in the study.
Last week my boy was sick for 2 days. During these days, he had no appetite and only agreed to have some schiacciata during the meal. So as to feed him some home-made food, I made him the North-China version of schiacciata: the bun! And to make it a bit more exciting, I added scallion and five spice powder to give a savory flavor. Guess what, the not-feeling-so-well kid finished a big one.
Maybe it is so called “like mother like son”!
- Flour 300g
- Yeast 3g
- Warm water 200ml
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Chopped spring onion
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Five spice powder 1tsp
- Flour 3tsp
- Hot vegetable oil 10 – 15ml
- Activate the yeast by dissolving them in a cup of (around 50ml) warm water (40℃). Wait for 5 – 8 minutes until you see foam at the surface of the water.
- Put flour and salt inside a big bowl. Then add in the yeast-water mixture, and mix everything using a fork/ chopstick.
- Add in 100ml warm water into the bowl, and mix well. Now use your hand to knead the dough, and meanwhile feel the proportion of the flour and water.
- Add in another small portion of warm water, and try to knead all the dry flour together into the dough. Stop add in water once no dry flour is left.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm place for leavening. Here it needs 1 – 2 hours until the dough doubles its size.
TIPS: Do NOT add in all the water in one-go. Always add in small patch and see how much flour is left, before adding more water. Otherwise you may risk to get a wet and sticky dough by adding in too much water.
- Put the chopped onion, salt, five spice powder, and flour in a small bowl.
- In a small pan, heat up the vegetable oil.
- Once there is smoke coming up from the oil, remove it from the fire and pour the hot oil on to the mixture prepared in step 1.
- Mix everything well for later use.
- Roll the leaven dough into a flatbread (with 0.5 – 1 cm thickness).
- Spread the flour-oil mixture evenly on top of the flatbread.
- Cut the flatbread into 3 or 4 pieces, and roll up each piece.
- Wrap the rolled-up bread from one end to the other, making a snail shell.
- Brush some oil (using a branch of rosemary to add some flavor if you prefer) on top of the bun, and sprinkle some white sesames.
- In a flat pan, put a thin layer of oil then lay the bun in the pan. Use low fire to fry the bun: 8 minutes on the bottom side -> flip over and 5 minutes on the side of sesames -> then another 3-5 minutes on the bottom. When frying the bun, make sure the lid is on to keep moisture inside the pan.