I am under the delusion that I know London quite well. Realistically I know a small, touristy bubble fairly well, and in the grand scale of things my knowledge is lacking. Earlier this summer with a little time to kill Dan and I decided to shake things up a bit and visit a few places we don’t usually. In an attempt not to end up in one of the same few restaurants for lunch, and to step slightly out of our comfort zone, we caught a tube to the financial distract, to try out a fantastic place called YumBuns.
Yum Buns serve fluffy white disks of steamed asian buns (similar to the char sui bao bun texture), packed with a mixture of crisp salad and rich hot fillings. I am obsessed. I tried satay portobello mushroom and char sui pork belly, and ever since I have been trying to come up with reasons to return.
When that didn’t happen soon enough, and with a little research I had a go at making my own, and it was surprisingly easy. The dough is adapted from a recipe for char siu bao, and then rolled into thin discs (thinner than you would think – they puff up a lot) and then cooked on a sheet of parchment paper in a steamer. I filled them with my favourite sticky chicken (find the recipe here) and a spring onion and cucumber salad.
adapted from Channel 4
makes 8 (allow 2 per person)
250ml warm water
7g dried yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 ⅓ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
450g plain flour
In a jug mix together the water, yeast, sugar, baking powder and salt and leave to stand for 3-4 minutes.
Put the flour into a bowl and create a well in the middle. Pour in the water mixture and bring in the flour until it is all mixed.
Turn onto a floured work surface and knead until it forms a smooth dough, a good test is to press a floured finger lightly into the dough, it’s ready when the dent almost disappears when it springs back.
Oil the bowl, and return the dough to it, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to prove for an hour.
After the dough has finished rising, turn out onto a floured work surface and cut into 8 equal portions. Roll each one until about 5mm thick and circular.
Put your steamer on, and when the waters boiling add a layer of baking paper to the bottom of each tier.
Steam the buns individually, for a couple of minutes until they bubble and they no longer feel like raw dough.
Fill with meat and salad and eat whilst still warm.
Spring Onion and Cucumber Salad
from Gok Wan’s Gok Cooks Chinese
1 clove garlic, finely diced
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
½ red chilli finely sliced
2 spring onions
Mix together the garlic, vinegar, oil, sauces and sugar in a bowl with half the chilli, to create the dressing.
Cut the cucumber into strips (approx 5mmx5mmx30mm) discarding all of the middle bits of the cucumber as these are too wet and will dilute the dressing. The middle of the cucumber is delicious served with a little white sugar to dip in.
Cut the spring onions into strips and mix in a serving bowl with the cucumber.
Pour of the dressing and mix well, leave to stand for a couple of minutes to let the flavours infuse.
Add more chilli if you like it spicy.