Steamed buns, or better-known bao buns are a delicacy that trace their roots back to the Fujian region of China. Steamed buns initially acted as snacks or part of a larger meal however with increase in creativity and diversity in steamed bun fillings, some bao buns fall within the dessert category.
What Are Steamed Buns?
Steamed buns aka bao buns are round scone like bites made from yeast, flour, sugar and milk. They are very sweet compared to other similar Chinese delicacies such as the dumplings. Because of their sweet nature, most fillings tend to be salty or spicy in order to give the snack a balanced savoury taste. This is however not a rule, because the kitchen is never limited in ideas and innovation.
Are Steamed Buns Healthy?
Steamed buns alone are sources of carbohydrates. Paired with bun fillings, they can either increase in calorie content or maintain a healthy amount of nutrition. The best steamed bun fillings are high in protein or vitamins such as chicken or lettuce. However if you eat steamed buns occasionally, then feel free to indulge in other tastier fillings such as pork.
6 Easy and Tasty Steamed Bun Fillings
The best thing about bao buns is that you can always make them to fit your breakfast, lunch or dinner needs. It all depends with the size of the buns and the kind of steamed fillings used. The following ten recipes are not only delicious; they are nutritious and have vegetarian options as well. You should note that the recipes focus mainly on the steamed bun fillings. You should therefore have pre-made bao buns or you can always buy them from a Chinese restaurant near you.
1.Popcorn Shrimp in Spicy Sauce
Are you looking for an easy but delightful and filling steamed bun dinner recipe? Then look no further. Because this popcorn shrimp filling will leave your mouth bursting in flavour and your mind blown as to how easy it was to make. Popcorn shrimp is among the healthiest options of the steamed bun fillings list. It incorporates high protein sea food with the carbs in the bao buns giving you a healthy and balanced meal. The best part about popcorn shrimp is that it gets ready in a few minutes.
You can make your own popcorn shrimp or buy boxed shrimp and simply reheat in an oven or air fryer. Once ready, glaze your popcorn shrimp with a spicy sauce that has ingredients like garlic, soy sauce, black pepper, and sugar among others. Just fill your bao buns with the spicy popcorn shrimp and enjoy!
At first glance, the pulled jackfruit filling looks exactly like barbequed pork. You will however be amazed to know that the jackfruit is exactly that! A fruit. That does not however take away from its pleasant taste. For those who are looking for vegan or simply low carb steamed bun fillings, then the pulled jackfruit rendition is a great choice. To prepare the filling, you will need the jackfruit, sauce ingredients, oil and a wok or skillet. You can buy a whole jackfruit or used the canned alternative.
Make sure to drain out the juices in the can. Make your marinade and sauce to fit your taste. Soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper and rice wine are some popular ingredients in this dish. Once you have everything ready, stir in your onions, garlic and ginger and cook. Then add the sauce, followed by the jackfruit. Allow it to cook until bubbly before filling your steamed buns with it. Enjoy when slightly chilled.
3.Mushroom and Bok Choy
The vegetarian community must celebrate the versatility of steamed bun fillings. Especially because there are so many that work out so great without the slightest tinge of meat. The bok choy and mushroom steamed bun filling is great for a light lunch or even breakfast snacks. The mushrooms add a rich earthy taste to the crunchy bok choy, giving these buns a fantastic flavour.
The featured recipe includes how to make the steamed buns from scratch but as already mentioned, you can always get ready made ones from an Asian store or Chinese restaurant near you. The mushroom and bok choy are spiced up with onions, ginger, garlic and pepper according to preference. Enjoy this delicious meal with friends and family with a nice glass of wine or chilled orange juice. Trust me it works.
4.Fried Chicken and Limed Red Cabbage
Fried chicken is always a favourite dish no matter where you come from. The limed red cabbage adds a unique tangy taste to the chicken, which then blends perfectly with the sweet steamed buns. This recipe is among the easiest and cheapest of the bun fillings catalogue given that you only need three main ingredients.
The red cabbage is simply prepared by adding some lime juice to it and letting it sit for a while. The fried chicken requires a marinade, and some breadcrumbs and eggs to give it that crispy taste. This meal is ready in roughly one hour if you have your steamed buns already at hand.
Steamed buns filled with pork are the most common of bao bun delights. In fact, you can easily get these small snacks served in restaurants and street corners all across China. Known commonly as Char Siu Bao, the pork filling remains a favourite in the steamed bun fillings list. To prepare the pork, you need to get the best cut. Tenderloins are preferred because they are easier to cut and cook.
There are two ways of preparing the filling. You can either cook the pork separately and use it to fill ready-made buns or you can cook it together with the buns if you choose to make them from scratch. The latter method is used in the featured recipe. Cooking the pork requires a simple stir-fry with onions, garlic, ginger, pepper and a sauce of your choice.
6.Bacon, Egg and Cucumber
The egg, bacon and cucumber combination has been a breakfast favourite for years all over the world. Today we add it to our list of amazing fillings. It is as easy as it sounds. The combination is also great for energy and nutrition alike. These steamed buns can make a great Sunday brunch snack coupled with a beverage of your choice. All you need are steamed buns, bacon, eggs, cucumbers and other spices if you prefer. You can make your eggs scrambled or simply fried.
Cook your bacon as you normally would and set aside. Prepare your eggs scrambled or fried. Cut your cucumbers into thin slices and set aside. Now arrange the ingredients in layers inside the steamed buns and enjoy. You can add cheese, lettuce, onions and tomatoes to make the buns more flavourful.
I hope that you enjoy these magnificent steamed bun fillings with your family. You will find that is easier and cheaper to have steamed buns in your freezer so that you do not have to worry about the kneading process. Having them ready made also reduces cooking time by almost an hour. This makes the steam buns quick meals that come in handy in busy or tight budgeted days.