Have you ever heard of Hu Jiao Bing in an all Chinese cuisine? Then certainly you have clicked onto the right page, as we are about to discover everything about Hu Jiao. Not always you would want to try the special Chinese entrees in the meal, sometimes quick and easy appetizers or snacks, are all we long for. Hu Jiao Bing is here to satisfy all such cravings of yours.
It is a simple bun which is filled with a variety of fillings. With the aim of providing the basic recipe of this luscious pepper bun, we will be celebrating its inspiring flavors by bringing its varieties and origin out in the light. We will bring Taiwan’s finest delicacy from the countries food streets 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 black pepper bun? Well, the recipe will clear 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 about the region it is preferred the most.
The traditional Hujiao Bing was first originated from the Fuzhou region of mainland China, it later became the staple of the Taiwanese cuisine. Today it is sold at every nook and corner of Taiwan, therefore it is also commonly termed as 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 the sugar solution.
The real story behind the origin of the Hujiao Bing is still not known to people but the local vendor lists it as Fuzhou Pepper bun which states its connection to that region. Certain people also term it as Fujianese traditional delight which was brought to other parts of China over the years.
Well, enough with the history, fast forward to 2018 and today Hu Jiao Bing is enjoyed in various parts of the world, sometimes served with beef filling and at other with the pork one. People also try it with vegetable stuffing.
The amazing things that make up the Hú Jiao Bing
Hu Jiao Bing is not a simple bakery bun, it is made special with a number of secret ingredients and the cooking techniques. It is popular for its mixed flavors, the sweet and savory packed into one. Let’s break down the list and understand what takes to prepare a soft and aromatic black pepper 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 flavour.
When this taste mixes up with the inner filling, the combination turns out to be finger licking delicious. To add more flavour to the bun, vendors in Taiwan drizzle white sesame seeds or toasted seeds on top before baking. Whereas you can also coat the top with some egg wash to enjoy more crisp.
Up next is the saucy filling which is packed inside the bun. The distinct flavours of the 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 or poultry or mixed vegetables.
Its filling allows you to be as creative as possible as long as you keep the balance of it by using the five spice seasoning to marinate the meat.
The filling is first mixed with 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 along with scallion.
Once this Chinese meat bun is sealed and the filling is securely packed inside, its time to use the secret technique to enhance all the flavours. 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 the cooking.
Once you dipped it, place the bun in a colander or a rack to release the excess solution. And avoid dipping 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 else it will dehydrate the bread of this bun. Once baked, the bun should always be served immediately.
Why Black Pepper Bun?
Well for starters, its enticing taste and the epic combination of soft and crispy dough makes this bun a must have for all. The deal is great for the kids.
You can add more rich and nourishing ingredients to the filling to make it even healthier for the kids like some amount of cheese or 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 the type of the meat used in mind while baking, as the stuffing should be completely cooked. Reduce the time for marination for all sorts of white meat whether its chicken or turkey or groundfish meat. Or you 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 it offers to the stuffing. Chinese five spice infuse such a distinct flavour to its 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 to enjoy the authentic and exotic Chinese flavours in every bite of our flavoursome Hu Jiao Bing.
The Delightful Black Pepper Bun Recipe
Taiwan’s regional delicacy will now be on your meal menu with this traditional black pepper bun recipe. It is made out of the fine flour dough and a meaty filling. You can adjust seasoning as per your own taste, either keep it tangy or add little spices. Enjoy with a drizzle of baked sesame seeds on top.
- 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
- 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
- 1/3 cup white sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Start making the pepper bun by mixing all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons dry yeast and 2 tablespoons sugar along with 1 cup and 2 tablespoons water in a mixing bowl. Mix this mixture well until it forms a smooth dough. Reduce or increase the amount of the water to keep the dough smooth and avoid over sticking. Keep 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 lard with ¾ 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 thick rectangular sheet. Spread the lard and pastry flour mixture over the dough sheet.
Now roll the dough into a log and seal the ends by pinching them together. Keep the dough aside for 30 minutes. Then cut the dough log into 8 pieces. Pull the slices separate from each other and place them on top of each other. Pinch each slice so avoid lard from oozing out.
Adjust the oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, remove the beef filling from the fridge and add chopped onions. And mix well. Divide the filling into 8 equal portions.
Spread the dough into 2.5 inch rounds and keep it thin around the edges. Start filling each round with 1 portion prepared meat filling. Wrap the filling by pinching the edges together. Make a smooth bun out of the dough. Fill the remaining dough slices with remaining meat portions and repeat the process.
Now mix 2 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Dip each bun the sugar solution. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top then place them in 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 from the top. Allow the buns to cool on the cooling rack.
Serve and enjoy.
We live for soft and crunchy bread and buns to enjoy as an appetizer. And when a bun is filled with delicious meat filling it becomes something hard to say no to. And that is what makes Hujiao Bing a most special delight of the Taiwanese cuisine.
The crispy bread texture on the outside and a juicy filling packed inside gives an irresistible combination of taste and aroma. When served freshly baked, this bun gives off a binding appeal. No wonder why 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 it adds an earthy and soothing taste to the bun’s crusty top.
The great thing is you can easily store the raw form of the bun in your freezer and then bake whenever you need it. Enjoy over a cup of coffee or tea during your work break or serve as morning breakfast or try as an appetizer, this bun can well serve all the purposes.