Little thrills, little trips, little ideas

Racoon Azuki Buns

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Www.ongling.com

Who….me?

I was reading about Tanuki Racoon Dog a few days ago, was fascinated by how this folklore mammal has been deified in Japan as a governing deity of all things in nature (including fertility, protection, purity, trust, etc) and til this day , I still see them in some of the temples in Japan. I had once too came across a little temple in Kyoto where the three monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil) are worshipped as deities too and not to mention the famous celestial fox deity, Kitsune.

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Kitsune

Therefore, I decided to make some racoon-faced steamed buns using Hong Kong flour, instead of cake flour in my Imo Manju recipe, and replaced baking powder with yeast. I bought ready-made Hokkaido azuki bean paste from my local Japanese store for the filling.

The dough
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup warm water (40°C)
1 1/8 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 cups Hong Kong flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup fine palm sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup coco powder
1/2 cup whole milk, warm

  • Dissolve some the sugar into the warm water and sprinkle the yeast over it, rest for 2 minutes and stir well and rest for another 10 minutes to activate the yeast. It will start foaming.
  • Combine the sifted flour, palm sugar, milk, butter and yeast mixture, knead into a smooth dough for 10 minutes. Separate a quarter of the dough and mix with the sifted coco powder and knead til the colour is well blended in.
  • Place the doughs in separate bowl, covered with a cling film. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

    image

    Different coloured doughs, made one extra white dough using white sugar instead of palm sugar for the eye balls.

  • Transfer the lighter coloured dough onto a clean surface. Cut into 15 equal portions. Shape each in round balls, then use your palm to press  it into a disc. Wrap a spoonful filling of the azuki bean paste inside, pinch seam tightly.
  • Cut the darker brown dough into smaller balls for the eye mask and shape with a bubble tea straw while pressing down with your fingers, use the straw at the same time to cut out the eyes too. Use the leftover dough from the cut-out eyes for ears, and some more for pupils and nose. Use the white dough for white eye ball. Arrange them onto the lighter coloured buns. Use the back of a pair of small scissors or tweezers to press down on both sides of the nose for whiskers.

    Shaping the eye mask portion with a straw

    Shaping the eye mask portion with a straw

  • Place the finished bun on a piece of baking paper. Repeat this step with the rest of the dough. Transfer to a steamer/wok, covered, let rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add cold water into steamer/wok. Steam buns over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes.Www.ongling.com

Since they are all shaped free-hand, the faces will turn out all different, its ok, giving more personality to each racoon bun.

 

Author: ongling

Hi, I have been making bento lunch boxes for my toddler son for a year. Its a challenge everyday to think of new bento ideas to excite him. The creations are endless and took a lot of trial and errors. But most importantly, his bento lunches must deliver 3 key goals: exciting presentation (eye appeal), exciting tastes (texture & ingredients) and exciting adventures (dare to try; food play). Recently, I started making my husband lunch bentos too for work after he got envious of seeing beautiful bentos prepared by Japanese wives on Japanese TV network. I am learning and picking up skills from many talented bento makers everyday to improve myself. Here are some of my creations I would like to share with you. Apart from bentos, there some travel stories and little things i enjoy doing related to food and culture in this blog. So enjoy and share your thoughts with me.

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