Pork & Vegetable Buns

Adapted from Chinese Cookery by Rose Cheng & Michele Morris. Los Angeles, CA: Price Stern Sloan, Inc., 1981.

Mandarin Dough (recipe follows)
1/3 lb. Chinese cabbage
1 lb. ground pork
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup chopped green onions
boiling water

Prepare the dough:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
4 cups flour
1 tsp. shortening

Mix sugar and warm water in a small bowl. Stir in yeast. Place flour in a large bowl, make a well in the center. Slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Add the shortening. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

In the meantime combine the filling for the dumplings:

Finely dice the cabbage, place in a large bowl with salt. Let stand 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the cabbage and mix well.

Divide the prepared dough in half. Roll each half into a thick log, about 2 inches in diameter. Divide each log into 9-10 equal sized pieces. Form each piece into a small ball.

Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 4-inch circle. To make buns, cup a circle in the palm of your hand. Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling in the center. Pleat the edges of the circle, lift the sides over the filling and twist and pinch at the top to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Line a steamer with cabbage leaves. Arrange as many buns on the steamer as will fit, leaving 1 inch between the buns. Let stand 30 minutes to rise.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot or wok. Cover the steamer and place over the boiling water. Steam over high heat 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Remove the cover slowly so the buns do not collapse.  Repeat with remaining buns.

Serve hot.