This recipe combines two of my very favorite Chinese foods: Peking duck and steamed buns. Wandering through Kroger, we lucked into a cheap piece of duck, and Joe immediately suggested we turn it into Peking duck. However, lacking the skills and drive to make a decent pancake, I decided to transform the dish into “Momofuku-style” steamed buns instead–i.e., assembled post-cooking, rather than with the ingredients cooked inside. I also gave the ingredients my own twist, and I think it turned out pretty tasty!
The recipe for the bun dough is not especially authentic due to the inclusion of butter, but the buns turn out beautifully every time. A Chinese exchange student and I discovered it in an old thrift store cookbook in 2007, and I’ve been making it ever since.
Peking Duck Buns
For the dough
- 2 tsp yeast
- 2 Tbsp regular butter, melted
- 4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup(s) warm water
- 1 tsp table salt
- 2 tsp sugar
For the filling
- 1 duck breast
- 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced (I used a vegetable peeler to slice mine thinly, and then marinated it in a little rice vinegar and sriracha.)
- 1 spring onion or 1 tbsp red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Hoisin or plum sauce
For the buns
1. Add warm water, yeast and sugar to a mixing bowl. Proof 5 min.
2 Add butter, salt and flour and start mixing everything into a ball.
3. Knead for about 5 min, until smooth
4. Once the dough is smooth-ish, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for one hour. Then punch down.
5. Working with a golf-ball sized amount of dough, press dough into a 6-inch round. Place the round on a piece of oiled wax paper and set into a bamboo steamer.** Let sit for 10-20 minutes.
6. Steam over rapidly boiling water for 10-12 minutes. Remove carefully, and beware of the steam built up inside the steamer.
**Depending on the size of your steamer, you’ll probably only be able to fit a few of these in the steamer. I only used 4 for my dish. The rest of the dough I left as unflattened balls and steamed into mantou. Steam these for 15 minutes and serve as a side dish.
For the filling:
- While your dough is rising, score and sear your duck breast. Start it in a cold pan, skin side down, over medium heat. The cold pan will give the fat time to render. When the skin is crisp, flip to lightly brown the other side. Cook to medium rare–this will only take about 5 minutes.
- Cut the duck into thin slices and assemble your cucumber, onion and Hoisin.
- Spread Hoisin sauce generously over a bun pancake. Fill with duck and vegetables as desired.