Chinese Steamed Pork Buns
Make the dough:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let stand until foamy, 5-10 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers.
Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl. With the dough hook, stir the mixture on low, gradually adding the remainder of the water (no need to use all of it if you don't need to), until a soft dough forms. Knead on medium low for 10 minutes.
Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Make the filling:
While the dough is rising, get your filling ready. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet, then add the green pepper, celery and green onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and the pork, breaking up the meat. Cook until the pork is beginning to brown. Sprinkle with the cornstarch and sugar; add the soy sauce and the sesame oil. Cook for several minutes until pork is browned and the mixture is slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Assembly and Steaming:
You will need some kind of steamer, large enough to hold all the buns, and kitchen twine. I used a two-layer bamboo steamer, lined with parchment paper to keep the buns from sticking, set over a pot of boiling water. Get the water simmering while you assemble the buns.
Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide into 8 equal pieces for larger buns (they do get much larger as they steam, though) or 16 pieces for smaller buns. Roll each piece out into a circle of dough about 5-6 inches in diameter. Spoon some of the filling into the center of each piece of dough. (I did this in steps, first rolling out all the dough, then setting them all out, and dividing the filling equally, so that I didn't end up with too much or too little filling.)
Gather the dough up and tie loosely with a piece of kitchen twine. Set the buns in the steamer, leaving a little room between each, as they will rise and puff during the steaming. Steam for 30 minutes over steadily boiling water. Serve buns immediately.
Yields 8 large or 16 medium buns.
Recipe adapted from Pork-Stuffed Steamed Buns, from The Chinese and Asian Kitchen Bible by Sallie Morris and Deh-Ta Hsiung.