Coconut Steamed Buns with Lime BBQ Chicken

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Coconut Steamed Buns with Lime BBQ Chicken

Once upon a time, in New York City, I was walking through Chinatown and a smell grabbed me. It was like in the cartoons where the pie is on the window seal and the smell lifts you up and carries you over. There was a small cart with a coal grill on it and they were serving up BBQ beef or pork steamed buns. They were filled with pickled vegetables and fresh herbs and topped with a BBQ sauce. Let’s just say I took one bite and ordered 3 more for my walk to the subway that was one block away. This is my attempt at recreating my moment in New York. I also bought sunglasses and a designer bag if you must know, when in Rome right?

Chicken:

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

Juice of 2 limes (add to bag after juiced)

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons ponzu sauce

2 Sichuan chilis

In a ziplock bag add all the ingredients. Break the chilies into pieces. Shake well to coat the chicken and let sit for at least an hour. I marinate mine over night in the fridge.

Grill the chicken.

Pro tip: I make my marinades part of my morning routine and let sit while I’m away at work.

Pickled vegetables:

2 cloves garlic

1 sweet chili

2 carrots

1 jalapeño

1 teaspoon green peppercorns

1 cup white vinegar

1 tab soy sauce

Julienne all vegetables, in a small sauce pan add the garlic and soy sauce. Let cook for a couple of minutes and add the peppercorns. Add the vinegar and turn off the heat. Pour this hot liquid over the vegetables in a sealable glass container. These keep for a couple of weeks. Make these a few days adead of time.

I also shave ginger and julienne onion in a different container with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1/2 cup vinegar or more just to cover it. No need to heat this.

Steamed buns:

3 cup flour + more for dusting

14 oz coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons yeast

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus more for brushing)

In a mixer combine the yeast and the coconut milk. Add the baking powder, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. Slowly add the flour. Mix until the dough is combined.

Kneed the dough on a well floured surface until the gluten has formed and it is firm. Let rest for 30 minutes covered with a damp towel.

Remove the dough and cut into 12-14 small pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Each piece should be about the size of a golf ball.

Roll each piece thin, a little smaller than a CD. Take oil and brush one side and fold the circle in half.

Set up a steamer bamboo or metal works. Turn on the heat to high to bring the water to a boil. Once you see steam rising lower the heat to medium and place your buns in to cook. Cook for 5 minutes with the heat on then turn the heat off and cook for another 5 minutes. Do not remove the lid. Remove the buns and set on parchment paper until cool. The oil should have prevented the dough from sticking together to make them easy to stuff.

BBQ sauce:

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon srirracha sauce

Mix all ingredients together.

Slice the cooked chicken thighs and stuff it in the bun. Top with the veggies and fresh cilantro and mint and top with the BBQ sauce. Enjoy.

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