I thought I’d see whether I could adapt a recipe I’d used and loved before – hoisin chicken buns from Cooking Light, by way of Cooking Cute. I tried it, and it worked well, although I’m always a bit funny about using leftover chicken and not cooking the hell out of it. I’m still alive, though… so I guess in that respect it was a complete and utter success. Maybe if I made this again, I’d heat the chicken before stuffing it in the bun, but it does get cooked again in the oven, so maybe that would be overkill.

Week One : Leftovers - Hoisin buns

To make this recipe, I made a batch of white bread dough, which is never any sweat with my bread maker. The original recipe calls for frozen dough, but I’ve never seen that before here in the UK – and it’s just yeast, water, salt and flour after all, so easy to put together.

The filling I stripped from the chicken carcass – I must have used the meat from one leg and two thighs, plus whatever I pulled from underneath. Shred it up, then add it to 3 tbsp hoisin sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp rice vinegar and a bunch of spring onions you’ve shredded finely. I also added salt to mine, but my hoisin sauce was that terrible cook-in sauce stuff, rather than the proper condiment you eat with duck. If you manage to pick up some real hoisin sauce (why was that so hard, Sainsbury’s?) then you should reduce the amount you use down to 2 tbsp.

Hoisin buns on tray

Once you’ve made your dough, turn it out and cut it into eight pieces (or more if you’re making them for bento), and roll each piece into a size slightly bigger than your palm. Place a spoonful of the chicken mix into the middle. Pull four corners into the middle and pinch, then do the same again with the leftover tabs. It’s helpful to rock the bun back and forth at this point to shape the top nicely. Set it on an oiled tray and put the rest together.

Hoisin buns on cooling rack

Cover and allow to prove for 20 mins in a warm place. Preheat your oven to 190C and then brush the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15 mins, or until golden. You can also bake them for a shorter amount of time (12 mins or so) and then freeze them to bake again another day. (There are great instructions here for freezing and then reheating the buns at Cooking Cute.)

Hoisin bun halved

Allow to cool slighty, then eat!

These also make a great lunch or snack, and can be eaten hot or cold. I really love these chicken buns! But, please make sure that everyone has one before you start to eat… unfortunately, the spring onions are a little whiffy. M ate one in the cinema the other day when we went to see Inglourious Basterds, and it didn’t really help the atmosphere, I have to tell you.

In other news, I’m off to the farmer’s market tomorrow to pick up my second chicken. Whoo! Wish me luck – I’m leaving really early so hopefully I can bag a good chook!

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