Matcha has been around in East Asian cuisine for as long as I can think of, but the superfine green tea powder has recently gained mass popularity in the United States with dishes from matcha lattes to matcha croissants! This ingredient is high in antioxidants and provides a natural bright, luscious hue to foods. From seeing matcha ice cream, mochi, to lattes, I haven’t seen matcha baozi (buns) served at any cafe or restaurant and today I decided to put a unique twist on these buns by stuffing the buns with two typical Asian flavors: adzuki beans and taro, which both have deep colors that pair well with the earthy green color from the matcha. Not to mention, this recipe is vegan!!!
Steamed Matcha Buns
yield: 8 buns
For the dough:
- 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
- 1/2 c. lukewarm water
- 5 tsp. white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. active yeast
- 1 tsp. flavorless oil
- 1 tsp. matcha powder
- flavorless oil (for brushing)
- red and purple food coloring for labeling the flavors(optional)
For Adzuki beans filling (yield 4; double if you want to yield 8):
- 6 tbsp. canned adzuki beans
For taro filling, recipe can be found from my Sweet Soft Taro-Filled Flatbread recipe. However, I added 1-2 drops of purple food coloring to enhance the color so that the green bun and purple filling colors would contrast better.
Directions (step by step pictures down below):
- Pour lukewarm water into a medium-sized bowl, along with the sugar. Mix thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved.
- Sprinkle the yeast into the liquid and mix thoroughly until dissolved. Then add the matcha powder until the liquid is completely mixed.
- Pour the flour in and knead with a fork or hands for 8 minutes. Add the oil and knead for an additional minute.
- Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 5 min. Ball the dough up and cover with a bowl for 30 min. to let it rise.
- After 30 min, the dough should have risen a little bit. Punch the middle of the dough to release air bubbles; gently knead the dough for 30 sec. then ball it up and cover with a bowl for another 20 min.
- After 20 min, the dough should risen more and the dough should be soft and fluffy.
- Cut the dough into 8 even pieces and ball them up and place on the side.
- For each ball of dough, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out, making sure that the sides are thin and the middle is much thicker. The flattened dough should be about 2 1/2 in. in diameter. Place a heaping 1 1/2 tbsp. filling (taro or adzuki) in the middle and pinch the sides in, sealing tightly so that the filling does not come out.
- Use your hands to rotate the bun so that the top is completely smooth and the bun is perfectly round.
- Place in a steamer using muffin liners and brush the top of the buns with a little bit of oil.
- I then used a toothpick to put a tiny dot on the buns to indicate which flavor is which. I used purple food coloring for taro and red for adzuki beans.
- Cover the steamer with a lid and let the buns rise for at least 15 min.
- Place 1/2 c. water in a large wok or pot and steam the buns (covered) on high heat for 10 min.
- Then remove the lid and continue to steam on high heat for an additional 5 min.
- Remove the steamer and let the buns cool for 15 min. If you don’t cool the buns enough, the muffin liners will be difficult to remove.
Cut open the buns carefully and mentally says “Oooh and Aaah” because the colors are just too gorgeous, and the buns taste just as good as it looks!