In Mandarin, steamed scallion rolls are called "hua juan," which translates to "flower rolls." They're meant to be just as decorative as they are delicious. Like other steamed buns, these guys are meant to be eaten for breakfast, as snacks, whenever the notion strikes really. —Linda
- Makes 12 rolls
- The Dough
active dry yeast (1 packet)
whole milk, lukewarm
- The Filling
neutral oil (corn, canola, etc.)
Sichuan peppercorn, freshly ground
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk. Let it stand for a few minutes until bubbles surface. In the meantime, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Once the yeast is ready, pour it into the flour and stir until a loose dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until it's dry but still elastic, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a large, lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Set it in a warm place to rise until it's doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by combining all the ingredients and stirring.
- When the dough is ready, punch out the air and empty it onto a surface. Divide it into 2 equal parts. Set one aside. Roll the other into a rough square, about 12 inches by 12 inches. With a spoon, spread the filling evenly across the square, leaving a 1 inch margin on all sides. Roll the dough into a long cylinder. Gently pinch the long seam closed. Cut off the scraggly ends with a knife, then cut the dough into 6 equal parts. For each piece of dough: cut three slits on top about halfway into the dough. Pinch each end (it's going to be oily), and twist in opposite directions, uniting the ends on the bottom. Pinch the ends together (does not have to be perfect) and place the roll, pinched side down, on a surface to rest. Repeat with the other five pieces of dough.
- Let rolls rest for another half hour to hour to rise some more. While waiting, cut out 12 pieces of parchment paper roughly 2 by 3 inches in size. You'll place each roll on a piece while steaming.
- Once the rolls have risen, heat a pot of water on medium-high heat. Get your steamer ready by placing each roll on a piece of parchment paper and placing it in the steamer. Don't cram the rolls as they'll puff out some more while steaming. You might have to steam in batches. Once the water's boiling, place the steamer on the pot and steam the rolls for 9 minutes. They'll be really hot, and as you may guess, steamy, so carefully remove them when they're done and let them cool before eating. Repeat with the rest of the rolls.