All throughout Taiwan, in obscure or conspicuous corners, some form of “bing” (bun) can be found, of either yeast-based, lard-based, or baking powder-based. The variations are infinite, where sweet or savory fillings include red bean, taro, lotus paste, daikon, pork, green onion, mochi, custard, and you’ll seldom find sweet and savory combos where sweet mochi compliments Chinese meat shreds impeccably.
I recall visiting Wen Zhou Jie Radish Pancake in Taipei, where sizable, deep-fried buns stuffed with daikon or green onion cost only 20 NT (0.66), and each bite comprised a burst of briny, earthy, flavor, with a crisp outer shell and fluffy interior, providing an oily “chapstick” covering for ones’ lips. This is a gem found only in Asia, and I wanted to emulate this style of pastry at home, so I haven’t devised an daikon recipe up to par, but I made an exceptional Pork Pepper Bun that I am thrilled to share.
These buns originated from the Fuzhou region in China, but due to its sweeping popularity in Taiwan, it is often dubbed as “Taiwanese Pepper Bun.” The bun includes a fat-free, yeast dough, filled with a meat filling, flavored with copious amounts of white pepper and as much green onions as the dough can hold. The more green onions, the better. Although a lot of white pepper goes into the meat, the bun does not taste extremely peppery, but rather has a nice subtle kick of spice. Hujiao bings also are decorated with an abundance of sesame seeds, thus a hujiao bing is not a hujiao bing without white pepper, green onions, and sesame seeds.
yield: 16 buns
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. yeast
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 c. 105-110 ºC water
- 4 tbsp. 100 ºC water for yeast
For meat filling:
- 1 1/2 c. ground pork (80% lean or a fattier meat works well)
- 3 tsp. white pepper
- 3 tbsp. michiu (Chinese rice wine)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 3/4 tsp. 5 spice powder
- 1/2 tsp. minced ginger
- 3 1/2 c. chopped green onion
- 1 egg for eggwash
- 3 tbsp. white or black sesame seeds
- Combine the 3 tbsp. water with yeast and sugar, and set aside for 10 minutes so the yeast activates.
- In a large bowl, pour the yeast mixture into the flour and knead with hand until a ball of dough is incorporated. On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 min. until it’s completely smooth and cover with a towel and place in a warm area, 85ºC-90ºC for 1 hour to let it rise. The dough will not double in size but it should rise a bit.
- In a medium bowl, combine all the meat filling ingredients except the green onion. With a fork, mix and mash the meat mixture for about 5 min. so that the protein in the meat breaks down a bit. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow it to marinade.
- Transfer the risen dough to a floured surface and knead for about 2 min. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces and place the dough pieces into the large bowl with a towel over it to prevent them from drying out.
- Preheat the oven to 400 ºC.
- Working one at a time, roll the dough ball until the dough is 1/4 cm. thick. Scoop about 1 1/2 tbsp. meat mixture in and top with 2 tbsp. or more green onion. Pinch the opposite sides of the dough together and pinch the sides in the middle, working in a clockwise motion until the dough is completely sealed. Make sure it is completely sealed so the juices don’t come out while baking.
- Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
- When all the balls are formed, beat an egg and use a pastry brush to brush on the egg wash.
- Top with A LOT of sesame seeds.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
It is best to enjoy these buns while they have come right out of the oven, but it is also good to know that you should eat these with caution for the meat juices can scald your tongue!