Steamed Buns with Crispy Calamari & Korean Sauce

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Fried calamari is one of my favorite summer meals. And it is very cheap and easy to make at home. I must admit that cleaning squid is not favorite cooking activity but it doesn’t take very long and the finish product is well worth it. If you don’t feel like doing it, you can always buy them cleaned. The cornmeal and panko coating make the calamari rings extra crispy, just how I love them! For the buns, I just got them frozen at my local Asian store. Just 5 minutes in the steamer since they are quite small and I was done. No need to thaw them.

For the sauce, this time I went for Korean. For some freshness, I added a cucumber and radish salad in a sesame dressing. It is such a great combination with the crispy calamari. My hubby and I finished everything in no time.

This recipe makes 10 small sandwiches.

Ingredients:

10 small steamed buns, I get the frozen ones.

500grs of squid, about 8 small ones (cleaned)

For the coating:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 cups of panko

1 cup of cornmeal

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

Salt

4 eggs, beaten

For the Korean sauce:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of Korean chili paste

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of honey

1/3 of a cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the cucumber and radish salad with sesame dressing:

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

10 radishes, thinly sliced

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds

Extra:

1 litter of vegetable oil

Coriander for garnish

 

Start by making the sauce. Place the sesame oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the minced ginger, garlic and Korean chili paste. Cook while stirring for about 1 minute. Then add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce and white vinegar. Stir until everything is well mixed and the sugar has dissolved. Once the sauce is ready, set it aside in a bowl.

To make the cucumber and radish salad, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing until evenly combined. Then add the sliced cucumber and radish and mix well. Set it aside.

Then start to prepare the squid. You can ask your fishmonger to clean them for you or you can do it yourself. If you have never cleaned a squid before, start by slicing the tentacles off. Just slice it below the eyes. Reserve the tentacles but discard of the beak.

Then holding the body, pull out the head and the inner parts. Also remove the flaps. What I like to do is pull the squid inside out so I can rinse it properly under cold water, don’t forget to also rinse the tentacles. Then pull it back to normal and peel the thin skin so that you are left with only white meat. Pat the squid dry with some paper towels and then slice it into small rings. Repeat for all.

Once all your squid are cleaned, start making the coating. In a medium bowl, mix the panko, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Have another bowl ready with the beaten eggs and another one with the flour.

Dip each squid ring and tentacle in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the panko/cornmeal mixture. Repeat for all. Once all the calamari is well coated, place it on a tray in a single layer and keep it in the fridge until ready to fry.

In the meanwhile, start prepping your steamed buns. I got them frozen and they went into my steamer for 5 minutes without thawing. The time will depend on the instructions in the package.

Then place the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry he calamari in batches until they are golden. This will only take a few minutes per batch. Just make sure the oil is not too hot that it burns them quickly.

Serve each bun with some of the cucumber and radish salad, calamari and drizzle some of the Korean sauce. Serve straight away. Enjoy!

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Crab Salad Buns

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I have a soft spot for crab and today I decided to satisfy my craving for it with these crab salad buns.

This recipe is for 12 buns.

Ingredients:

For the buns:

3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

7grs of dry yeast

½ cup of warm water

½ cup of milk

1 teaspoon of salt

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 egg

1 tablespoon of sugar

For the crab salad:

700gr of crab meat, I used canned crab meat

3 celery stalks, chopped very small

1 granny smith apple, chopped very small

Juice of 1 lime

8 tablespoons of mayonnaise

2 teaspoons of mustard

Celery salt to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

½ cup of chopped chives, plus more for decoration

Extras:

Poppy seeds

Egg wash

To make the buns:

Place the yeast and the warm water in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes are up, add the remaining ingredients for the dough. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment. You can also knead it by hand.

Then remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and grease it with a bit of vegetable oil.  Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Once the dough has risen, place it on a floured working area and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Place the balls in an oven tray lined with parchment paper, leaving some space in between.

Grease with some vegetable oil, one large piece of plastic wrap. Cover the buns with it, greased side touching the buns (this will prevent them from sticking to the plastic). Let them rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

About 10 minutes before the buns are done rising, preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Once the hour is up, brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle them with some poppy seeds. Bake them for 15 minutes or till golden.

To make the crab salad, just mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Make a cut along the top of each bun, without going all the way down. Stuff each bun generously with the crab salad and decorate with some chives. Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Rolls Stuffed with Chinese BBQ Chicken

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This is something you can do with the leftovers from the holidays. I used rotisserie chicken and I mixed it with some Chinese BBQ sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. But you can use leftover turkey or pork instead or just keep them vegetarian.

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This recipe makes 28 small rolls, I made half on a cast iron skillet and half on an oven dish.

For the dough:

7 grs of dry yeast

½ cup of cream, lukewarm

¼ cup of milk

½ cup of mashed sweet potatoes (I roasted them until tender)

3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup of sugar

2 eggs

For the filling:

2 ½ cups of chopped rotisserie chicken, leftover turkey or pork

2 tablespoons of Chinese BBQ sauce

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

Extras:

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)

 

Place the lukewarm cream and yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer and let it sit for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes have passed, add the remaining ingredients for the dough to the bowl with the yeast.

Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment.  You can also knead it by hand.

Then remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floured working area, it will be very sticky so flour your hands as well. Clean the bowl and then grease it with a bit of vegetable oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Place all of the ingredients for the filling in a pan over medium heat and just stir until the chicken is evenly coated. I like to mix it in a pan because the Chinese BBQ sauce is quite sticky and hard to mix unless it’s warm. Set it aside

Once the hour has passed, lightly oil the cast iron skillet or oven dish in which you are going to bake the rolls.

Place the dough in your floured working area. Punch it and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Grab one piece and slice it into 14 pieces. Make each piece into a ball, flatten it and stuff it with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Close the edges by pinching them together and form a ball again. Place the bun on the prepared skillet, repeat for the rest of the dough.

Cut a big piece of plastic wrap and brush it with some vegetable oil. Then cover the rolls with it and let them rest for 1 hour in a warm place.

About 10 to 15 minutes before the second rise is done, preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Remove the plastic wrap from the skillet and brush the buns with the egg wash.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy!

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Speculoos (Cookie Butter) & Pear Buns

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Speculoos is a spiced cookie that it is usually eaten around December here. It is delicious and luckily it also comes in butter form. I really felt like baking last week so I thought of making a different version of the traditional Swedish buns. So I just filled these with cookie butter, pears and then sprinkled some pistachios on top. A delicious fall/winter treat!

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This recipe makes 24 small buns.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

3 ½ cups of All-purpose flour

7gr dry yeast

½ cup of warm water

½ cup of milk

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of salt

4 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup of sugar

1 egg

For the filling:

10 tablespoons of speculoos

3 pears, grated & squeezed (use the ones that are better for cooking like Bosc)

For the egg wash:

2 eggs

2 tablespoon of water

Extras:

1/3 cup of chopped pistachios

 

Place the yeast and the warm water in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

Place the remaining ingredients for the dough in the bowl with the yeast.

Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment.  You can also knead it by hand.

Then remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with a bit of vegetable oil.  Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover it with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Once the hour has passed, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cut a large piece of plastic wrap, enough to cover the baking tray and brush it with vegetable oil to prevent it from sticking to the buns later on.

Place the dough in your lightly floured working area. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.

Microwave the Speculoos for 30 seconds so it is easier to spread. Have the grated and squeezed pears ready.

Roll out one piece into a rectangle of about 30x23cm. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut out the uneven edges.

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Spread evenly half of the cookie butter all over the dough, you can leave a little space on the edges. Sprinkle half of the grated pears.

Grab the top 2 edges of the dough and fold it towards you. Roll it a bit with the rolling pin just to seal it. Then slice it into 12 pieces. Grab one piece and twist it. Then wrap it around your finger making two rounds and then make a knot, tucking one end through the middle. Don’t worry if they are not perfect. They will look better once baked. Repeat for the remaining pieces and the other half of the dough.

Place the buns on the prepared baking tray, bush them with some egg wash (then keep the egg wash in the fridge because you are going to use it again). Cover the buns with the previously oiled piece of plastic wrap.

Let them rise in a warm place for 1 hour.  About 15 minutes before the time is up, preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Once the hour is up, remove the plastic wrap and brush them again with the egg wash. Sprinkle some pistachios on top of each bun. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Enjoy!

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Mini Hamburger Buns

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I love making sliders. I actually love making mini versions of any kind of food. Most of the times, I just buy the mini buns. But when I wanted to make some sliders a while ago, I couldn’t find them at my supermarket. I found out they are a seasonal thing here, pretty much only for the summer months. So I was “forced” to make the mini buns myself. And by forced, I mean, I didn’t feel like biking through the city looking for mini buns on other stores.  Plus bread is very easy to make, you just need to have the time for it to rise and luckily that day, I was in no rush.

This recipe makes 8 mini buns.

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

¼ cup of warm water

¼ cup of milk

3.5gr of dry yeast

2 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 tablespoon of sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

1 egg

2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds

Egg wash

 

Place the warm water and the yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the flour, milk, butter, sugar, salt and the egg. Knead the dough with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Do it on low speed for about 5 minutes, until it stops sticking to the edges and it forms a ball. You can also knead it by hand.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with some vegetable oil. Place the dough back in the greased bowl and cover with plastic film. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

Once the hour is up, place the dough on a lightly floured working area. Punch the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball with your hands. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the buns on the prepared baking tray. Grease with vegetable oil a large piece of plastic wrap.  Cover the buns with the plastic wrap, greased side touching the buns.  This will prevent them from sticking to the plastic.  Let the buns rise for another hour in a warm place.

Before the dough has finished rising for the second time, preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Once the buns have finished rising, brush them with some of the egg wash and sprinkle some of the black sesame seeds on top of each bun.

Bake for 15 minutes until golden.