Prepare the Jellied stock:
- Add the dashi stock and agar to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, whisking continuously. Pour into a shallow dish and set in fridge 2-3 hours or preferably overnight.
Prepare the filling:
- Soak the wheat gluten, dried bean curd sticks and shiitake mushrooms for 30 minutes. Drain and squeeze any excess liquid out. Finely chop them along with the bamboo shoots. Place them into a large bowl. Add in the scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, black soy sauce, shaoxing wine, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper and salt. Give it a good mix. Cut the jellied soup stock into 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch cubes. Carefully fold it into the filling. The total weight of the filling is about 562g. Keep the filling covered and stored in the fridge until dough is ready.
Make the dough:
- Electric Mixer: Add flour, yeast and salt (be sure the yeast is not touching the salt) to a electric mixer. Start with a low speed (setting 2) and pour in the water slowly. Increase the speed (setting 4) and let it run for about 6-8 minutes or until a smooth, elasticity dough forms. Cover and rest for 10 minutes (15-20 minutes if your kitchen is cold).
- By hand: Add the flour, yeast and salt to a bowl (ensure salt does not touch yeast). While stirring with a pair of chopsticks, drizzle the water in starting with the lesser amount. Once it begins to clump, knead with your hands until you get a smooth, elastic-y dough (about 10-15 minutes of kneading). Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and rest for 10 minutes (15-20 minutes if your kitchen is cold).
- NOTE: Most recipes will call for a rest period of 30 minutes. However, pleating can take some time (especially if it's your first time) so the yeast will continue to proof during that time, so it is better to start early or the dough will be over proofed for these style of buns. Alternatively, you can keep the dough covered in the fridge to prevent it from over-proofing.
Assemble the buns:
- Divide the dough into 28 18-19 gram pieces.
- Roll out dough into 3.5 inch diameter. Place 1-2 tbsp filling (18-20g) in the middle and pleat it closed.
- Add a thin layer of oil to the pan. Place buns into the pan leaving 1 1/2 inch between each one and pan fry until bottom lightly brown over medium heat (about 5 minutes). Do not turn up the heat or touch the buns as they are still raw and delicate. Any puncturing of the buns will cause liquid to leak out.
- Pour 1/4 cup fo water or enough to cover 1/3 of the buns height, and quickly cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium low and cook 8-10 minutes or until water is mostly gone.
- Uncover and sprinkle on sesame seeds and green onions. Cover for another 1 minute (this just helps the sesame seeds and scallions stick a little better). Then remove the cover and cook for another 1-2 minutes to allow excess water to evaporate and the bottom to get it crispy.
- Carefully remove the buns using a blunt spatula (I used silicon spatula) to prevent any puncturing.
- Serve with your dipping sauce of choice or chili oil and enjoy!