Friday, May 31, 2013

AB #31 - Purple Sweet Potato Bao with Kaya Fillings (紫薯加椰包)

If you notice, I have been busy making many steamed buns lately thanks to Aspiring Bakers #31, hehe. On Tuesday, I was supposed to go to a chinese friend's house to learn how to make zongzi (glutinous rice dumplings) but she called to say it was postponed since her mother-in-law couldn't make it. I said it was ok, since I planned to make some steamed buns but I must first go to Colruyt to get some regular sweet potatoes, those orange ones. Then she said, oh, I have got some purple sweet potatoes, why don't you drop by and get them? 

I was so lucky, purple sweet potatoes, yeah!!! If you know how difficult it is to get them in Belgium! 



Using cinemascope, not the actual colour of the porcupine-shaped buns!

Since I was making coloured buns, I made use of this opportunity to shape the buns into porcupines, rabbits and roses (I know purple porcupines and purple rabbits seemed a bit far-fetched!) and I filled most of them with canned red bean paste filling. The canned red bean paste filling was not that great, it was far too sweet and I didn't really like it, and my son refused to eat the bun after just taking one bite. I took out my 15-min homemade kaya jam which I specially made for this occasion, and I filled 5 of the buns with the kaya, and my son liked it so much, he kept asking for "that purple cake with yellow thing".  :)

Actual colour of the purple sweet potato bun and kaya fillings. Yes, the kaya was bright yellow!


Here is the recipe I adapted from WendyinKK (makes 20 buns)

Ingredients
250g steamed purple sweet potatoes
250g lukewarm water
500g cake flour (original recipe used pau flour)
1 tsp baking powder
100g sugar
50g corn oil (original recipe used shortening)
1/4 tsp salt
11g instant yeast (I used Bruggeman, 1 packet is 11g)

Method
1. Steam the sweet potatoes over high heat for 15 min and mash them using a fork. Set aside to cool. (Since these were purple sweet potatoes which were harder than the orange ones, they were still pretty firm after steaming. So I blend them for a few seconds in a food blender with part of the 250g water.)

2. Mix the balance of the 250g lukewarm water with the instant yeast and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine everything except the oil or shortening, and mix to form a dough. 

4. Once a rough dough is formed, add in the oil or shortening and knead until you get a smooth, non-stick dough. (I used the dough mode of my breadmachine to mix for approximately 12 minutes. You could use hand-kneading also. See pictures of the bao dough here.)

5. Cover the dough with clingwrap or kitchen towel and let it proof in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (The weight of the dough was about 1 kg or 975g to be exact. )

6. After 1 hour, punch down the dough and knead for 1-2 min.

7. Divide dough into 50g portions and shape them into small dough balls. (The dough was nearly 1 kg so you would get about 19-20 portions). 

8. If you are making buns with fillings, flatten the dough into a small circle, add in 1 heaped tsp of the desired filling, seal the dough and shape it round, then place each bun with the sealed side down on a paper cupcake liner or square piece of baking paper. If you are making decorative buns such as porcupines or rabbits, cover the dough balls and let them proof for 10 min before knipping the dough with a pair of sharp scissors. 

9. Cover the buns with clingwrap or kitchen towel and let them proof in a warm place for another 30-40 min until doubled in size. Do not overproof.

10. Steam in a pre-heated steamer on HIGH heat for 12 min. After 12 min, open the steamer lid so that there is just a small gap, to allow the steam to escape, and let the buns adjust to room temp. This will prevent the surface of the buns to become wrinkly.

For the kaya filling, pls refer to my 15 min homemade kaya recipe. I have made it 7 to 8 times already, but this time the kaya was yellow instead of brown due to a new brand of palm sugar that I used, but the taste was still fantastic! 


For the red bean paste filling, if you would like to make your own, you can refer to my tau sar red bean paste recipe


These rabbit buns look very LOMOish, don't they? :)


What was the verdict for these purple sweet potato steamed baos? The dough was very easy to handle, it was not sticky and required minimal or no flouring at all. In terms of the taste, they were very good, you could taste a sweet subtle tinge of the sweet potatoes. And due to the addition of the sweet potatoes, the baos were still very soft and fluffy on the 2nd day. I tried eating one without heating, the bao dough was still soft and moist especially with the kaya fillings. For the ones which I ate on the 2nd day, I warmed them up in microwave for 40 seconds and they were piping hot! Even on the 3rd day, the buns were still ok, but I would advise you to keep them covered in clingwrap and chill them in the fridge, and heat them up just before eating.



I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #31 - Bao Ho-Chiak (May 2013) organized by none other than myself, Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders.


I am also submitting this post to YeastSpotting.

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