I recently bought a pack of frozen steamed adzuki buns from an Asian grocery and have been eating them every now and then for a quick breakfast or snack. While they’re definitely tasty, they also lacked a solid filling-to-bread ratio. So, I decided to remake them myself (also so I could have a never-ending supply of these in my freezer).
These buns are made with fluffy steamed bread, similar to the dough that I used for the Spicy Pork Steamed Buns that I made recently. It’s a rather simple dough, made of sugar, water, yeast, flour, milk, powdered sugar, and salt. I didn’t use a stand mixer, but it really didn’t take me long to work this dough together. Just continue to knead until you get a soft and smooth dough.
For half of the buns, I decided to use store-bought adzuki bean paste. I kept it in the fridge so that it was firm and malleable by the time I needed to use it. This is key, since it’ll make it easier to roll into the middle of the dough. For the other half, I decided to make an ube filling. I can’t find fresh ube here, so I had brought back dehydrated powdered ube. I’m sure you can find this at Asian groceries or purchase online.
To make the ube filling, I followed the instructions to rehydrate the ube and added sugar and butter to enhance the flavors. No matter what filling you want to use, make sure that it is fully cooled before assembly. If you want to use fresh ube instead, you can steam the potatoes, mash them, and then add sugar and butter!
I decided to make two different types of rolls: one is a more basic bun, while the other is a type of roll. The roll is basically made like cinnamon rolls (roll into a log and cut into pieces). The buns are slightly trickier to assemble, however, they are also more straightforward to cook.
These are best enjoyed hot, so if you have any leftover, place in the freezer. You can resteam them for 5-8 minutes when you’re ready to eat (no need to thaw).
Steamed Adzuki & Ube Buns
For the bread:
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
For the fillings:
- 6-7 oz red bean paste (store-bought or homemade)
- ube filling (see above for details)
Prepare the dough:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, lukewarm water, and yeast. Let sit for about 15 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Add the milk, flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough has come together. Then, knead with your hands for 8-10 minutes, or until soft and smooth. The dough should not stick to your hands.
- Cover bowl with a dish towel and allow to proof for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- While dough is proofing, prepare your fillings (see above blog post for more details).
Assemble your buns:
- Once dough is done proofing, scoop out of the bowl and knead for about 2 minutes to remove extra air. Move to a well-floured surface.
- If you want to make classic buns: Cut your dough into 16 even portions. Cover the rest while you work on assembly. Roll each dough ball into about a 4-inch disc, making the edges slightly thinner than the center. Place about 1 tbsp (or less) of filling into the center. Pull up each side and pinch until fully sealed. Place seam side down.
- If you want to make rolled buns: You’ll make these like cinnamon rolls! Cut into two portions (or don’t if you’re only using one type of filling). Roll dough into a large rectangle, about 1/2” thick. Spread an even layer of your filling on top and then roll (starting at a long side) into a log. Cut into 16 even portions. Tuck the ends under, so that they don't unravel when cooked.
Cook the buns:
- Add the necessary amount of warm water for your steamer. Mine is relatively small, so I only needed to add a cup or two. Make sure the water is warm, as it'll help the second rise.
- Cut out squares of parchment to fit under each roll. Place into the steamer and cover with lid. Let sit for 30 minutes to rise.
- After 30 minutes, turn on the heat to medium. Steam for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, DO NOT REMOVE THE LID. Allow the buns to sit in the steamer for another 5 minutes. If you remove them without letting them rest, then they may fall and get wrinkly.
- After the 5 minutes are up, remove from the steamer.
- The buns are best enjoyed hot, but if you have any leftovers you can store them in the freezer. Resteam them by putting the frozen buns into the steamer for 5-8 minutes.