Food History

Steamed Scallion Rolls

January 27, 2014

Every other week, we’re unearthing Heirloom Recipes -- dishes that have made their way from one generation's kitchen to the next.

Today: Linda Xiao of The Tart Tart shares a recipe for steamed scallion rolls that lingers in her mind.

My grandfather is a mystery to me. He's 95 years old, half-deaf, and somewhat of a recluse in the family. On top of that, he and I have lived across the world from each other -- him in China and me in America -- for pretty much my entire life.

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And yet, for a short while in fifth grade, he and my grandmother came to live with us in the U.S. It's from that period that I remember him whipping out these steamed scallion rolls every week.


So maybe this recipe I'm sharing isn't an heirloom recipe, per se. It hasn't been passed down from generation to generation to generation.

However, it does represent a memory of a recipe, one that I've dredged up from the distant past and tinted with nostalgia for the only time in my life when my grandpa didn't seem a complete stranger.

And that, to me, makes it valuable enough that I want to pass it down. 


Steamed Scallion Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

The Dough
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups whole milk, lukewarm
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt

The Filling
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons neutral oil (corn, canola, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn, freshly ground
1 pinch sugar

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • mudd
  • miamimango
  • Kate
  • Cynthia Chen McTernan
    Cynthia Chen McTernan
  • molly yeh
    molly yeh

Written by: Linda


mudd December 18, 2019
Came to this late, but a wonderful story. Your grandfather may not have been demonstrative, but making these rolls for you showed his affection.
miamimango February 24, 2014
Linda, thank you so much for such a sweet post. It will mean more to me when I cook it with my granddaughters.
Does your grandfather know that you posted it? Sometimes Asian parents/grandparents are rather formal with their relatives, but that doesn't mean that they love any less. I bet that he would be happy to know that he had an influence on you and that you have this great memory of him to pass on to the world.
Kate January 27, 2014
These look so perfect for the lunar New Year! Have to share these with a few friends. Thank you!
Cynthia C. January 27, 2014
Oh my goodness, these are beaaaautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. What you've said is so piercingly accurate -- recipes like this are all the more special for people like us, whose grandparents can sometimes feel more distant -- not only geographically, but sometimes culturally and linguistically, too. And, most importantly, what Molly said!
Cynthia C. January 27, 2014
I have a hyphen problem.
molly Y. January 27, 2014
i want ten of these in my mouth right now