Prep: 1h 15 mins – Makes 12 buns for 4 people – A little effort – vegetarian
Clean the mushrooms and roughly chop them in batches in a food processor. Set aside.
Peel and finely chop the shallots. Crush the garlic.
Melt the butter in a frying pan or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Fry the shallots for 4 minutes until soft, add the garlic and fry for another minute.
Add half of the chopped mushrooms and a pinch of salt and fry over a high heat, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms have released all their juices. Keep frying until the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
Once you have fried all the mushrooms, season them with salt and pepper and set aside.
Make the bun dough: with an electric whisk, mix the flour, baking powder, milk and salt until the dough comes together. Knead with your hands for 2 more minutes until you have a smooth dough. Roll into a sausage and cut into 12 equal-sized pieces.
With your hands, flatten a piece of dough into a disc, place a heaped teaspoon of mushroom filling into the centre, then fold and pull the edges up over the filling and pinch together so the dumpling is sealed. Put the dumplings on a piece of baking paper, seal side down, and place into a bamboo steamer. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Put the bamboo steamer into a large wok over a high heat. Pour some boiling water into the bottom of the wok – it’s important that the water level is lower than the platform on which the dumplings sit, to make sure the dumplings are steamed and not boiled. Place the lid on the steamer and steam for 8 minutes. Halfway through the steaming process, lift the lid and sprinkle the buns with sesame seeds. Cover and steam for the remaining time. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
While the dumplings are steaming, finish the mushroom sauce. Put the remaining fried mushrooms back into the frying pan or heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat through. Add the white wine and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the cream and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve the steamed buns with mushroom sauce and a green salad.
• You can get bamboo steaming baskets in most supermarkets and in every Asian shop. I would recommend buying a few baskets of the same size and only one lid, as you can stack the baskets to steam a few ‘levels’ at the same time. My baskets have a diameter of 20cm and they fit 5 dumplings.
• If you have a steam oven, you can cook the dumplings in there for 8 minutes at 100°C.
• The mushroom sauce also works as a simple and tasty pasta sauce, especially if you add some Parmesan shavings at the end.