These pan-fried buns, a type of dumpling, bring together a crispy yet soft and slightly chewy dough with a savory venison mixture. They make a perfect snack or appetizer. If you aren’t familiar with the technique for eating this style of meat-filled bun, there is a trick. Bite a small hole in one side, suck the liquid, or soup, from the interior, then finish eating the bun. If you ignore this step, be warned that the juice from the filling might run down your arm and chin.
The dough is simple — bread flour, salt, and water. The bread flour is important. Its extra protein leads to a higher gluten content, and that makes for a soft, easy-to-work dough. The extended processing time develops the gluten in the dough, which makes the dough stretchy enough to work but still tender once finished.
You can serve these buns as a main dish, or, our favorite, as an appetizer.
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 finely chopped scallion (green onion), white and pale-green parts only
1 lb ground venison
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 small bunch garlic chives, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cooking wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
This dough takes 1 1/2 hours to rest, so make it first. In the bowl of a mixer, add the flour and the salt. Start mixing on low speed and slowly add the water. Increase the speed of the mixer and mix for 10 minutes or until the dough is completely smooth. Place the dough in a covered container and allow it to rest for 90 minutes.
To make the filling, brown the ground venison in a large skillet. Add the green onions and garlic chives .
Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the ginger, salt, cooking wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the oyster sauce and water. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the filling to cool.
Split the dough into 16 to 20 equally sized balls. (Tip: To make uniform sizing easier, divide the ball of dough into quarters, then divide each quarter into 4 or 5 equal pieces.)
Roll each ball until smooth. Then use a rolling pin to roll each ball on a floured surface into a roughly 4-inch circle.
Spoon a rounded tablespoon of filling into the center of the dough.
Pinch the edges up to the center, stretching it in even pleats around the filling, to form a closed dumpling. Repeat until all filling has been used.
Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Place a few buns, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet, into the pan, folded side down. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes to a golden brown, then carefully flip and fry the opposite side for an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Move the finished dumplings to a warm platter.
Add more oil to the pan, if needed, and repeat the process until all buns are cooked. Mix the dipping sauce and serve with the warm dumplings.
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