You guys, I’ve been wanting to make this for soooooo long. So I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should get a bamboo steamer. There are so many Chinese goodies I want to make, but they all require using a steamer. Something in me always cheapened out and I never got one. Until last week when my mom surprised me with her old bamboo steamer when she came to visit. I guess she got tired of me telling her my justifications of getting one vs. not. Regardless, I’m stoked.
I knew right away that the first thing I had to make were hua juan. This literally translates to “flower twist”. It’s a variation of traditional Chinese steamed buns, but with a twist (quite literally!). The bun is shaped with a twist to mimic a flower blooming and is seasoned with salt, white pepper, and scallions. It’s such a simple bread but so delicious.
Hua Juan (Flower Bun)
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (+more for dusting)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 Tb sesame oil
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together flour, salt, water, and yeast using a dough hook. Mix on low for about 5-10 minutes, until the dough is soft and passes the window-pane test. Cover and set aside in room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- Dust work surface with flour. Roll dough into a long log and split into 10 portions. Roll each portion into a long rectangle (about 6 inches in length). Using a paring knife, make several slits lengthwise, leaving about 1 cm at each end. Using a pastry brush, brush on a thin layer of sesame oil. Sprinkle with a little bit of white pepper, salt, and scallions. Using both hands, grab both ends of the dough and twist the dough in opposite directions. Then spiral the dough together to form a coil. Tuck one end in the middle and the other end in the bottom. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Line bamboo steamer with parchment paper. Let dough rest for about 10 minutes. Fill a large pan with about 2 inches of water, place the steamer in the pan. Bring to a boil and steam for 15 minutes, and rest for 5 minutes before lifting the lid.