it has been so deliciously cloudy around these parts. it rains almost every day and i love it. it's perfect sweatpants and hoodie weather and the clouds create some very yummy photo lighting as well as the perfect backdrop for practicing three places in new england.
this weather is not so perfect for farming though. every other day, for a few weeks now, eggboy says we're gonna start planting soon! but then it rains and it rains and planting gets delayed and he puts on a frown until i remind him that now we have time to get caught up with game of thrones.
in other news: i have felt guilty about letting almost a year go by of not making steamed buns. living with a gluten-free eggboy has its downside because who will share my buns with me?!
but today i woke up and thought fuck that! it's my birthday month, i'm making steamed buns and i'm gonna eat them all.
so i made them and i filled them with bacon and eggs as a nod to my all time favorite birthday breakfast, the humble breakfast sandwich. and then i decided to just go all the way and make shengjian bao, which are basically steamed buns... and then you fry them! (side note: henry james was wrong when he said that "summer" and "afternoon" were the most beautiful words in the english language, because i'm pretty sure that "and then you fry them" are more beautiful, no?)
typically shengjian bao have some soup in them, but these ones just have eggs, bacon, scallions, and a wee bit (a lot a bit) of parmesan. good thing i'm wearing stretchy pants!
bacon and egg shengjian bao
makes approximately 18 buns
for the buns:
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 c + 1 tsp sugar
3/4 c warm water
3 c flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c milk (cow or almond)
1/4 c vegetable shortening, melted
for the filling:
6 strips bacon
3 stalks scallions, chopped
6 large eggs
a bit of cheese, optional
salt + pepper
black vinegar or rice vinegar
a pinch of crushed red pepper
to make the buns, proof the yeast with the 1 teaspoon of sugar in the warm water.
in a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, and salt. pour in the milk, vegetable shortening, and yeast mixture, and mix to form a dough. knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for 2 hours.
to make the filling, crisp up the bacon and chop it into 1/2-inch pieces. in the bacon fat or a little olive oil, cook the scallions for 3 minutes. beat the eggs with a splash of water and the bacon pieces. pour the eggs in the pan and scramble them, keeping them pretty wet. don't overcook them because they'll cook a bit more when the buns steam. add in cheese, if desired, and season with salt and pepper.
roll or pat out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out 3-4 inch circles. you could also pinch off small balls of dough and roll them out into circles. fill with 1-2 tablespoons of filling and pinch shut. place on a square of parchment paper and in a bamboo or metal steamer, a few inches apart. let rise for 30 more minutes.
steam over a large pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until doubled in size and cooked through.
coat a pan with vegetable oil, set it over medium-high heat, and lightly fry the steamed buns for a few minutes on each side, until browned.
to make the dipping sauce, combine 1 part soy sauce with 1 part vinegar and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
eat them all yourself!!! or share them.