How to Enjoy Pork Mini Buns at Home
A few winters ago, a friend of Chinese heritage invited me to a restaurant famous for its pork mini buns. I have never heard of them. She described them as chinese dumplings with a piece of pork and soup inside. I was intrigued. Soup in a dumpling? I couldn't say no. At the restaurant, the waiter placed a large bamboo steamer on our table. I leaned forward in anticipation as he lifted the cover. There nestled on top of chinese cabbage leaves were these succulent dumplings filled with pork and soup. My friend carefully used her chopstick to place one dumpling on a Chinese soup spoon, making sure she didn't break the skin. I did the same, although certainly with a little bit more difficulty. Again using chopsticks she carefully broke the skin and lo and behold a bit of piping hot soup came out. I stabbed the side of my dumpling with one chopstick, because it was easier for me to do that. The soup filled my spoon. Somehow, i was able to move the dumpling on one side so I can drink the soup from the spoon. Delicious! I was hooked. There were many times that I returned to that restaurant with my friend, by myself or another friend to enjoy that delicacy.
Steaming Pork Mini Buns at Home
But there were times when I didn't want to make a special trip to the restaurant and still want pork mini buns and I wondered how I can enjoy it at home at a cheaper price. A few years later, I passed by an Asian supermarket that recently opened. This part of the city had become home to many Asians. I went inside to look for red bean ice cream. I first had it when I went to a Japanese restaurant and had it for dessert and enjoyed it. I found the red bean ice cream in the refrigerated food section. A few doors over there were bags of pot stickers and dumplings. Dumplings? Maybe they had mini buns. I looked more closely and found there was quite a selection. I got one bag that said pork mini buns on the front with a picture of mini buns inside a bamboo steamer. The brand name was Wei Chuan. There were approximately 22 pieces for $3.99. At the restaurant we usually get 8 dumplings for the price of $6.
At home I took my battered, old red electric wok and put in two cups of water. I placed my metal steamer at the center and covered it with some cabbage leaves as per the instructions. I put 8 frozen pork mini buns on top of the cabbage leaves. I covered it, turned on the wok and set it to 400 degrees so that the water would come to a boil and steam the dumplings. Now the instructions just said to steam for 10 minutes, since it was pork I steamed it for 15 just to make sure. When the time was up, I turned it off and lifted the cover. The dumplings were deflated and wrinkled and there was no soup inside. I cooked it for too long and the skin had burst. I was mad. Sipping the soup from the spoon was the fun part. I ate what was left, it was good but I really liked the soup part. So I started again. This time I set the wok for 400 degrees but reduced it to 275 degrees as soon as I heard the water boiling and I timed it for ten minutes. When I lifted the cover, there they were, succulent soupy pork mini buns. Yum. I pierced the skin, sipped the hot soup, and ate the rest. Finally I can enjoy pork mini buns at home.
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