Chinese Black Pepper Bun (胡椒餅)

 

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20160625_112112One very deep memory I have of one of my trips to Taiwan was going to the Rao He Night Market (饒河夜市) with my boyfriend over in Taipei and lining up at the Fu Zhou Pepper Buns (福州世祖胡椒饼) stall along with about 10 other eager and hungry patrons. The heavenly aroma of meat and baked bread wafted to our noses as we stared in awe as workers worked at an efficient assembly line. Fill, bake, serve. No stopping to chat with customers or to take a chug of water on that hot, summer night.

20160625_112143They stuff the balls of dough with pork and scallions and then top with a heaping of white sesame seeds and put them in a huge clay pot oven to bake at a high, scorching temperature. It’s truly a mesmerizing process as we watched them work, almost mechanically, to expertly stuff and seal the buns. We were rewarded after a 10 minute wait and about $1.50 paid to the cashier a steaming hot, freshly baked black pepper pork bun.

I greedily bit into it and was rewarded with a crunchy exterior and a gush of oozing pork juices that were scalding hot. Despite my minor burns, it was completely worth it. The pork was perfectly salted and spiced and the fresh aroma of Taiwanese scallions cannot be beat. I fell in love at first bite, truly. If they weren’t massive and the size of my entire palm, I would’ve scarfed it down completely, but thankfully my boyfriend helped me polish off the remainders.

20160625_113743Now that I’m in the U.S., this luscious black pepper bun is only a distant memory. A few weekends ago, on a sudden whim, I decided I wanted to try my hand at making my own. With the help of my mom, we concocted our own version of this famous Pork Bun, which turned out quite successful. The dough uses an oil and flour dough for a flakier and crisp exterior, so be aware that it is made separately. Other than that, it’s a very straight-forward process. We used lean ground pork but you could easily opt for a different hunk of meat in your buns. Heck, ground beef works just as well, but it will have a bit of a gamier taste to it compared to pork.

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20160625_121110Remember to fill the buns with scallions after the meat, and not mixed into the meat, or you’ll lose that fragrance from the extra stuffed scallions. Seal it very well or you’ll risk losing that delicious pork juice that makes these buns so great! Keep a watchful eye on the oven and if you find that they’re cooked but the outsides aren’t brown enough to your liking, turn the temperature up to 425 F for 2-3 minutes for that great crust. Now go forth and enjoy these classic and very much coveted Black Pepper Pork Buns!

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Note*** This version of the recipe is solely mine. When re-posting, please cite me and my website.

Copyright september 2016 ©

Chinese Black Pepper Bun (胡椒餅)

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Fresh Chinese signature of a crispy sesame crusted bun filled with aromatic ground pork, black pepper, and scallion

>>> Yields 16 buns

Time:
-Prep: 30 min
-Bake: 20 min

 

Ingredients:

Base Dough:

  • 225 g warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 400 g AP flour

Oil Dough:

  • 100 g AP flour
  • 50 g vegetable oil (sub 25 g with shortening)

Meat Filling:

  • 400 g ground lean pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1  tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 100 g chopped green onions/scallions
  • white sesame seeds for topping

Instructions:

1) Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Add in the sugar and salt, then stir in the 400 g of flour until a dough forms. Let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes.
2) In a separate bowl, combine the 100 g of flour and oil and set aside.
3) To make the meat filling, combine the ingredients and stir well. Keep refrigerated until ready for use.
4) After the basic dough has slightly risen, roll the dough out on a floured surface into a large, thin rectangle. Spread the oil dough on top evenly.
5) Roll the dough up into a log and then into a snail form. Flatten the dough into a disk and let rise for another 10 minutes in a warm place or overnight in the fridge.
6) Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll out into an even circle. Stuff with about 2-3 tbsp of meat filling. Then top off with scallions. Close the buns tightly and lay them seal side down. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
7) Brush the tops with water (mixed with a little honey to stick) and top the buns with white sesame seeds.
8) Let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
9) Preheat the oven to 190 C or 375 F.
10) Bake for 20-25 minutes until insides are cooked and the tops are crispy and golden brown.
11) Remove from oven and serve while warm.

Happy eats!

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