Sunday, October 25, 2009

Curry Chicken Buns

Posted by Quinn at Sunday, October 25, 2009

I made this with Sammi yesterday. I won't say I taught her, more like we learnt from each other. Thanks Sam, it was a good experience having you in the kitchen. Just remember not to measure 6g of salt with my not-so-sensitive digital scale, just use 1 tsp of salt for every 6g!

It was the first for Sammi and the n-th for me in terms of kneading and making Asian buns from scratch. We both agreed on going with bread recipe using water roux starter (i.e, the famous 65°C Tang Zhong) and opted for a savory filling rather than the usual sweet filling.

I have been dying to try the curry chicken bun recipe from one of my cookbook by Agnes Chang called I Can Bake and as usual, Agnes never fail me. She never did. Even if I failed, it's my fault, not Agnes's.

The chicken filling could have been more spicy, I blame my not-so-Asian curry powder and the fact that I use frozen curry leaves, I don't blame it on Agnes.It could have been more onion-y, if you know what I mean but I blame it on the fact that I use brown onions which are sweet rather than shallots. I really like using shallots but they are just so expensive in Adelaide, fetching up to AUD$13.00 per kg. So, it's not Agnes fault at all!

I have used Yvonne C famous book, 65°C 汤种面包 by Yvonne C water roux bread recipe. The marriage of Yvonne C's bread and Agnes's curry chicken filling was very nice. I like how the bread turned out to be. In terms of texture, they are soft and fluffy. I like how the pandan strips across each bun glams up things!

Just remember to loosely wrap the pandan strip around the buns. I already loosely wrap it around the bread however, upon doubling and baking, the strip still sort of choked the bread. Next time, will have to even loosen the pandan strips!

Recipe below adapted and modified by me:

Water Roux (Tang Zhong) Starter

100g bread flour
500g (2 cups) water

Tang Zhong is basically one part of bread flour or high-protein flour to 5 parts of room temperature water, measured by weight. It is cooked until it reaches the magic number 65°C and cooled before added into any bread recipes.

Any normal bread recipe could have Tang Zhong incorporated provided you keep the ratio of Tang Zhong to be approximately 20%-30% of the flour content provided in the recipe and adjust the water content.

I quote Angie's recipes:

Breads with Tang Zhong incorporated in it are softer and remain softer for a longer period without any bread softener added to it. It is the gelatinization of starch in bread flour that causes this when the mixture of bread flour and water is heated until it reaches 65°C. Starch gelatinization helps absorb more water to provide the soft and elastic texture bread. So, baking is really about science and not an art as many people thought it is!

500g water + 100g bread flour is what's given in Yvonne C's book and could be easily reduced since this makes a large batch and you will only be using a little of it to incorporate it into the bread dough. As long as you keep teh ratip by weight to be 1:5, it will be alright.

This is what I've used:

25g bread flour or high-protein flour 1/2 cup of water

I've tried using pasta water to increase the starch content. It doesn't harm it but it doesn't seem to me like it improved it too so just stick to plain water!

In a small pot, whisk the bread flour with water until well combined. Turn on the stove heat and set it to medium low heat. Cook, stirring often until the mixture turn white, starchy and when you use your whisk to make a stroke, it leaves an obvious trail in the mixture. Tang Zhong is done when you see those signs, though a thermometer would be great and precise to tell you it's 65°C.

Remove Tang Zhong to a small bowl and cover it with cling wrap touching the surface to prevent skin formation. This could be kept up to 3days in the fridge and discard and do not use when it turn greyish.

Combine the following in a bowl and whisk well:

195g bread flour 90g cake flour or low-protein flour 1.5 tsp instant yeast (6g) 1 tsp salt (6g) 2 tbsp heaped castor sugar (30g) 1.5 tbsp heaped milk powder (12g)

Combine the following in a smaller bowl and whisk well:

60g whole egg (I use one whole egg of minimum weight 67g each)
65g water (I just use 1/4 cup)
75g Tang Zhong or Water Roux Starter

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until you find it hard to whisk before transferring everything out onto a clean surface and knead away! Don't use a bread machine like the book. Enjoy the process of kneading and doing things with bare hands. everyone knows I said that because I don't have a bread machine and I badly need one (I hope Aaron is reading this or any other kind readers would do too!!!) and because Sam is the one kneading it!!! Just kidding, not wanting to be mean. Sorry Sam! I could see you knead hard and gluten was definitely developed :)

Once it forms a smooth mixture, add in 45g softened unsalted butter (remove 1 tsp salt if using salted butter, that's what I would do next time. Bread came out a little salty just now but still tasty) and knead till a smooth glossy, satiny ball of dough is formed. Add bread flour only if necessary and very sticky. All the kneading with hand will probably take up approximately 20-30mins, that's how long Sam kneaded just now!

Smooth out dough and place ball of dough, seams side down in a lightly greased bowl. Cling wrap it and let it rise until double in size and pass the finger test, that is, when you poke the mixture, it doesn't shrink back and the hole remains visible. Ours was a little too wet, probably could do with more flour Sam but it's okay, still yummy!

Punch out all air bubbles from dough with your fist and knead it briefly. Weigh each portion to approximately 50g or so. I managed to get 11 balls. Wrap up with the curry chicken filling and seal the seams well to prevent leakage. Very loosely wrap a strip of pandan leaf across the centre of the oblong shaped bun. Place it on a greased tray. Repeat with the rest until finished.

Glaze it with : 1 egg + 1/8 tsp salt
Now, let it rise again until double in size. When doubled, bake it in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15mins.

Curry Chicken Filling
(adapted from Agnes Chang book, I Can Bake)

2 tbsp oil

2 tbsp curry powder, mixed with 3 tbsp water
1 big onion, chopped
1 sprig curry leaves

200g chicken meat, cut into small cubes
2 boiled potatoes, peeled and cubed smallish
1 tsp chicken stock granules
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp water

Stir fry A with the 2 tbsp oil until fragrant. Add in B and stir fry until dry. Do a taste test and dish up. Leave it to cool and set aside.

This makes enough for 18 buns of 50g each, keep the rest for other use or just half the recipe and fill the 11 buns above thriftily.

I am submitting this post to the weekly Yeastspotting organized by Susan of Wild Yeast Blog.

Adapted from : Angie of Angie's Recipes, 65°C 汤种面包 by Yvonne C and I Can Bake by Agnes Chang

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13 comments on "Curry Chicken Buns"

Angie's Recipes on October 26, 2009 at 3:40 PM said...

Hi Quinn
Thanks for alert. I have been having this and that problem with commenting system in blogger while using wordpress template. Sorry for the inconveniences. I really gotta find out the problem or I will need to give up the wordpress template.
Your curry chicken buns look really special!
It's ok for me that you quote the recipe as an easy reference for your reader.
Thanks again!

Angie's Recipes on October 26, 2009 at 3:45 PM said...

Hi Quinn,
The post "Tang Zhong starter" uses "Intense Debate" commenting widget. Could you please tell me what exactly the problem you have encountered while leaving a message?

Quinn on October 26, 2009 at 6:16 PM said...

Hey Angie,

I think you've already figure out where's the problem with your commenting widget.

Thanks for letting me quote you in my blog post and glad you find the curry chciken bun special.


Anncoo on October 26, 2009 at 6:54 PM said...

Haha...This is really yummy curry chicken bun with waist line.

zurin on October 27, 2009 at 3:12 PM said...

OH OH YES i'm totally making this! such beautifully made buns..ive eaten this from a bakery and yours looks just as perfect..the pandan leaf makes it so specisl.tq for sharing ..i love it!! :))

petite nyonya on October 28, 2009 at 6:12 PM said...

The buns look wonderful with its golden brown sheen. You're a talented baker!

Quinn on October 28, 2009 at 8:47 PM said...

Petite Nyonya,

Haha, Quinn is so shy and blushing now *^_^*

I'm no talented baker. It all comes down to what type of egg wash you use. This is just egg with salt, no water or milk added to dilute it hence the golden sheen.


The Little Teochew on October 29, 2009 at 7:08 PM said...

You did an awesome job! You put some bakeries to shame. Really.

Quinn on October 29, 2009 at 10:14 PM said...


I really don't think my bread baking skills are that good yet but thanks though!

I like how homemade buns allow me to stuff more filling, cut down the salt, use wholemeal bread flour and omit the whitening stuffs, preservatives or whatever softeners that should just go into my washing machine with my laundry, not into my food that goes into my body!

Susan/Wild Yeast on November 4, 2009 at 11:50 PM said...

These look beautiful with the pandan leaf! I have seen this Tang Zhong starter before, but never tried it. Very interesting!

Quinn on November 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM said...

Thanks Sue and thanks for visiting!

Tang Zhong starter keeps it soft, it's a very Asian style of bread making technique.


MC on November 6, 2009 at 11:37 PM said...

Beautiful! I will definitely try this starter. How interesting...

Quinn on November 6, 2009 at 11:45 PM said...

Thanks Banette!
You make very good bread too!

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