February 9, 2022

Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Bun 白蓮蓉鹹蛋包

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This gorgeous gold and orange round within round of yummiliciousness in a pristine white bun is our offering for this year's Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger.   The perfect circle of the yolk in this Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Bun symbolizes the all important Chinese concept of the family unity.  

Not saying that Chinese families don't fight, they do and they do it just as robustly as other folk do (yeah, personal experience).  

But even with all the fighting that can happen, the Chinese believe that family is the bedrock.  This is especially so around Chinese New Year when the whole family gets together to bring in the New Year.  Our Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Bun 白蓮蓉鹹蛋包 is not only yummilicious with its soft fluffy white bread wrapped around a heart of creamy sweet lotus seed paste and lusciously melty salted egg yolk but also rich in its symbolism of unity.  It's the perfect way to celebrate the New Year!

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The star of this bun is the luscious bright orange hued heart that is the salted duck egg yolk 鹹蛋黃.  Salted eggs are just duck eggs that have been brined.  

You can easily make your own with our homemade Chinese salted egg recipe (though this requires time).  Or you can buy salted duck eggs 鹹蛋 at the asian grocery market or the wet market or online here.  The salted duck egg is the one that is coated in black charcoal powder.  Sometimes the black is scraped away so that the delicate blue of the duck egg shell is revealed.  

In order to use the egg yolk all you have to do is the clean the egg of the black stuff, then crack the egg open.  Separate the egg yolk and the egg white.  The egg yolk is, due to the salt preservation process, already hard and ready to use.  Rinse the egg yolk under running water to loosen any clinging egg white and dry gently with paper towel. 

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Look at these gorgeous salted egg yolks!  And how to describe the taste of these lovelies?  For those who haven't experienced Chinese salted egg yolk it's duck yolk (which is slightly richer than chicken egg yolk) that's become decadently umami-ly intensified, a tiny bit salty from the brining and possessing a heavenly melty texture that it just soooo good!  There is a good reason for its star status in Chinese cuisine.

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Lotus seed paste
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Lotus seed paste balls

Next up is this creamy classic from the Chinese pastry world: the golden hued, slightly nutty, deliciously sweet and creamy lotus seed paste 白蓮蓉.  You can buy lotus seed paste pre-made or you can try making it with our easy and for sure to make extra creamy and delicious homemade lotus seed paste recipe.  

Weigh the lotus seed paste into portions and roll up into balls.

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Dough balls resting
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Dough flattened, ready to fill

The dough for this bun is the Chinese basic dough that is also used for the Mantou buns.  It's slightly sweet and steams up into a delicious soft fluffy bread.  To prepare the dough for these buns follow our Chinese Basic Dough recipe.  

After the first rise of the dough punch down and divide into weighed portions of dough.  Roll each portion of dough into rounds.  Cover and let dough relax.

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Yolk placed on lotus paste round
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Yolk enclosed in lotus paste

While dough is relaxing take the balls of lotus seed paste and flatten in circular disc.  Wrap salted egg yolk inside the lotus seed paste.  This is the filling of the bun.

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Filling placed on dough round
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Filling encased in dough

Flatten a round of dough and wrap the filling in the dough.  Snuggle the dough up around the filling.  To close up the dough completely around the filling: cradle the half wrapped dough/filling (photo on left) in one hand while using the other hand to pinch the dough up around the filling.  After every pinch rotate the dough a bit.  Pinch, rotate, pinch rotate, etc.
 
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Shape dough around filling
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Pinch closed to a point

Keep turning as you shape the dough until the dough wraps around the filling.  To close the dough pinch firmly to a point (photo on left).  The point can be then folded down to one side and flattened.  This will be the bottom of the bun.

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To prevent the buns from sticking to the steamer you'll need to cut out parchment paper in squares.  Put each wrapped bun on a square of parchmnent paper into the steamer.  Leave approx 2 inches between each bun as the they do expand a bit.  Cover and let the buns rest and rise for 30 mins.  

When the rest is almost finished start heating the steamer water until boiling.  Add the buns over the heat.  Remember to use high heat when steaming.  High heat will ensure the buns steam up white.  We like to use a bamboo steamer because it infuses a slight bamboo scent into steamed foods and also because it prevents water drips from the top while steaming.

A quick hot steam later and these gorgeous to look at, decadent to eat and wonderfully symbolic buns are done and ready for the Chinese New Year table!  Beautifully white and fluffy bread wrapped around sweet, creamy, nutty golden lotus seed paste with a heart of lusciously melt in your mouth umami packed salted egg yolk.  

Happy Circular Unity and Happy Chinese New Year!

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Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Bun Recipe 白蓮蓉鹹蛋包
(makes 10 buns)  Dough prep: 10 mins   Dough 1st rise:  2 hrs
Bun prep: 10 mins 
 Dough 2nd rise: 30 mins  Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:


Directions:


Make the Chinese Basic Dough according to the recipe here.  Once kneaded cover and let the dough have its first rise (around 2 hours).  

If making your own lotus seed paste follow our instructions here.  Let the paste cool completely.  Weigh out paste to 40g portions and roll into balls.  Cover and set aside.

To prepare the salted duck eggs, scrape the black off eggs and rinse clean under running water.  Crack open the eggs and remove the yolks.  Rinse the yolks under water and very gently dry with paper towel.

When the dough has doubled in size punch down.  Weigh out the dough into 40g portions and roll and tuck into balls.  Cover and let rest for 5 mins.  

Roll out one round of lotus seed paste to a 3 inch circle. Place one egg yolk in the middle and then wrap up the sides and top until the egg yolk is evenly encased inside the paste.  Repeat for all the egg yolks.  This is the bun's filling.

Roll out one round of dough to approx 4 inch circle.  Place filling in the middle.  Use one hand to snuggle the dough up around the filling.  Still cradling dough/filling in that hand, use the other hand to pinch the dough up and over the filling.  Pinch and then rotate the dough a bit, then pinch again.  Repeat until the dough has closed over the filling and pinched to a point.  Fold over point and flatten back into the bun.  

Prepare 10 nos  2 1/2 inch squares of parchment paper to place under buns (to prevent buns from sticking to the steamer.)  Place wrapped buns pinched side down onto their individual squares of kitchen paper, 2 inches apart.  Cover and let rise for 30 mins.  Get pot of water boiling and then place buns over steamer.  

Steam on high heat for 15 mins.  (Make sure to use high heat to get white buns.)

Eat hot and delicious from the steamer.  To show off the beautiful filling use a sharp knife to slice in half before serving.  If you can't finish all buns at once you can keep in the fridge wrapped for a couple of days.  Any longer than that wrap well and freeze.  To reheat from the fridge steam for 5 mins.  To reheat from the the freezer steam for 15 mins.  Enjoy!

Bodacious Buns from The Hong Kong Cookery:






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