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Hujiao Bing – The Chinese Meat Bun

Written by Peter Allen on . Posted in food

Hujiao Bing may be well known in Chinese cuisine, but have you ever heard of Hu Jiao Bing? You have clicked onto the right page, as we are about to discover everything about Hu Jiao. Whether you’re hungry for lunch, dinner, or a snack, Hujiao Bing is here to satisfy all types of cravings.

Hujiao Bing is a simple bun filled with a variety of fillings. With the aim of providing the basic recipe for this luscious pepper bun, we will be celebrating its inspiring flavors by bringing its varieties and origin to light. We will bring Taiwan’s finest delicacy from the streets of China and Taiwan straight to your dinner tables, so stay tuned!

When it comes to the name, Hujiao Bing is the Chinese word for ‘Black Pepper cake’ or ‘biscuit’, so the question becomes why it is known as a black pepper bun. Well, the recipe will satisfy your mind in this regard. Today, there is a number of styles in which the Hujiao Bing is baked, sometimes it is served with a meaty filling, or with an all-vegetarian filling, or, with no filling at all. Each variety speaks to regional preferences.

The traditional Hujiao Bing originated from the Fuzhou region of mainland China, and it later became the staple of Taiwanese cuisine. Today, it is sold from every nook and corner of Taiwan; therefore, it is also commonly termed as the Taiwanese Pepper Bun.

The commonly used ingredients for this bun include water, flour, and lard; for filling, it requires meat and seasoning which varies per recipe. One thing which makes these buns distinct from the rest is the sugary taste which is infused by dipping the wrapped dough ball into a sugar solution.

The real story behind the origin of Hujiao Bing is still not known to people, but the local vendor lists it as a Fuzhou Pepper bun, stating its connection to that region. Certain people also term it as a Fujianese traditional delight which was brought to other parts of China over the years.

Well, enough with the history–fast forward to 2019 and today, Hu Jiao Bing is enjoyed in various parts of the world, sometimes served with beef filling and other times with pork. People also try it with vegetable stuffing.

The amazing things that make up Hújiao Bing

Hu Jiao Bing is not a simple bakery bun; it is made special, with a number of secret ingredients and cooking techniques. It is popular for its mixed flavors–both sweet and savory packed into one bun. Let’s break down the list and understand what it takes to prepare a soft and aromatic black pepper bun.

The Bun:

Firstly, there is an outer bun which is soft and flaky like a baked croissant. This outer covering appears like a smooth dumpling. It is baked until it turns crispy and golden brown. But before the bun is baked, it is dipped into a sugar mixture. This solution gives the bun a desired moisture, softness, and a mildly sweet flavor.

When this taste mixes up with the inner filling, the combination turns out to be finger-licking delicious. To add more flavor to the bun, vendors in Taiwan drizzle white or toasted sesame seeds on top before baking. Whereas, you can also coat the top with some egg wash to enjoy more crispiness.

The Filling:

Up next is the saucy filling which is packed inside the bun. The distinct flavors of Hu Jiao Bing come from its tangy filling. Ground meat is used for that. You can use any meat as per your taste. Beef and pork are usually used but you can also experiment with tofu, poultry, or mixed vegetables.

Its filling allows you to be as creative as possible as long as you keep the balance by using the five-spice seasoning to marinate the meat.

The filling is first mixed with the seasoning mixture along with some water, and then it is marinated long enough to allow all the spices to absorb into the meat. Then, scallions are added right before filling it in. These fresh scallions give it a special juicy crunch in every bite. If you want to try some other fresh vegetables of your choice, then add them along with scallion.

Sugar Dip:

Once this Chinese meat bun is sealed and the filling is securely packed inside, it’s time to use the secret technique to enhance all the flavors. Prepare a sugar solution and dip the entire bun into it. Now the dough will turn out to be super soft and extra flaky after cooking.

Once you’ve dipped it, place the bun in a colander or on a rack to release the excess solution. Avoid dipping it for too long, or the dough will become too soggy in texture. Locally, the buns are baked in special clay ovens, but while preparing them at home, you can easily bake them in your gas or electric oven. Keep the temperature as per the description, otherwise, you will dehydrate the bread of this bun. Once baked, the bun should always be served immediately.

Why Hujiao Bing?

For starters, the enticing taste and the epic combination of soft and crispy dough make this bun a must-have for all. The meal is also great for the kids.

You can add more rich and nourishing ingredients to the filling to make it even healthier for the kids. Consider using some cheese, chopped nuts, or coconut shreds. Add a slice of cheddar cheese on top of the filling or mix in shredded parmesan cheese while preparing the stuffing.

Remember to keep in mind the type of meat used while baking, as the stuffing should be completely cooked. Reduce the time for marination for white meat, whether its chicken, turkey, or ground fish meat. You can make things more interesting by serving it with a tangy sauce or a cheesy dip.

The best part of these meat-stuffed buns is the level of the uniqueness offered in the stuffing. Chinese five-spice seasoning infuses such a distinct flavor to the filling which no other blend can guarantee. You can pair the seasoning with some of your own ideas to experiment with the recipe, but try to stick to the basics when you want to enjoy the authentic and exotic Chinese flavors in every bite of our flavorsome Hu Jiao Bing.

The Delightful Hujiao Bing Recipe

Taiwan’s regional delicacy will now be on your dinner menu with this traditional black pepper bun recipe. It is made out of the fine flour dough and a meaty filling. You can adjust the seasoning as per your own taste; either keep it tangy or add fewer spices. Enjoy it with a drizzle of baked sesame seeds on top.

Ingredients

Bun

  • 1 cup & 2 tablespoons water
  • 2-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons lard
  • 3/4 cup pastry flour

Filling

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 teaspoon grounded black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon grounded white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 bunches of spring onion, chopped

Sesame Crust

  • 1/3 cup white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions

Start making the pepper bun by mixing all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of dry yeast, and 2 tablespoons of sugar along with 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of water in a mixing bowl. Mix this well until it forms a smooth dough. Reduce or increase the amount of water to keep the dough smooth and avoid letting it get sticky. Set this dough aside until the filling is prepared.

Now, take a saucepan and add all the ingredients for filling except spring onions. Add water to the filling, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is completely absorbed. Keep mixing until the meat turns sticky and compact. Refrigerate this filling until the bun is ready.

Take another bowl and mix 5 tablespoons of lard with ¾ cup of pastry flour until well combined. Now, take the dough and place it over a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to spread the dough into a ¼ inch thick rectangular sheet. Spread the lard and pastry flour mixture over the dough sheet.

Roll the dough into a log and seal the ends by pinching them together. Set the dough aside for 30 minutes. Then, cut the dough log into 8 pieces. Pull the slices apart from each other and place them on top of each other. Pinch each slice to keep the lard from oozing out.

Adjust the oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, remove the beef filling from the fridge and add chopped onions. Of course, mix well. Divide the filling into 8 equal portions.

Spread the dough into 2.5-inch circles and keep it thin around the edges. Start filling each circle with 1 portion of prepared meat filling. Wrap the filling by pinching the edges of the dough together. Make a smooth bun out of the dough. Fill the remaining dough slices with remaining meat portions and repeat the process.

Mix 2 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Dip each bun the sugar solution. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top, then place the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with their pinched side down.

Bake all the buns for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F until golden brown on top. Allow the buns to cool on a cooling rack.

Serve and enjoy.

Conclusion

We live for soft and crunchy bread and buns to enjoy as an appetizer. And when a bun is filled with some delicious meat filling, it becomes something hard to say no to. And that is what makes Hujiao Bing a special delight of the Taiwanese cuisine.

The crispy bread texture of the outside and juicy filling packed inside gives these buns an irresistible combination of taste and aroma. When served freshly baked, this bun gives off a binding appeal. No wonder it is enjoyed at every street corner of Taiwan. People love the lightness of its texture and the richness of the ingredients. Moreover, when the buns are baked with sesame seeds on top, they gain an earthy and soothing taste on their crusty tops.

The great thing is, you can easily store the raw form of these buns in your freezer and then bake them whenever you need to. Enjoy Hujiao Bing over a cup of coffee or tea during your work break, serve it as morning breakfast, or try it as an appetizer–this bun can serve all purposes well.

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Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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