It’s finally the long weekend, yay! Monday is Victoria Day here in Canada so I decided to take advantage of my extra day off and do more creative baking.
Last week, I made Nikuman (Chinese Steamed Bun) in an effort to step outside my comfort zone. Having been quite proud of how my steamed buns turned out, I decided to take it one step further this time and turn them into cute animals! Quite often I go to my local Chinese grocery store and see pre-made steamed buns shaped into pigs which I thought were super adorable. I’ve always wondered how they did it and upon some additional research, I may have figured it out!
So how did I do this? Well first, you need to make the dough and filling as per my Nikuman recipe.
The only difference is that instead of having the pinched dough at the top of the bun, it is at the bottom. The other important thing to note is that you need to reserve some extra dough which you can color using food coloring paste to make the snout and eyes. I colored my dough the same way I color fondant. Place some food coloring paste in the centre of the dough and start kneading it out with your fingers. I should’ve used gloves so that I didn’t have to stain my skin but I didn’t have any gloves on hand (no pun intended…)
I did this for both the black and pink dough. Once I have the colored dough ready, I started making the snout first. This part is really fun – it’s like playing with Play-Doh! I shaped the pink dough into a small oval and stuck it on the front and centre of the bun. I then proceeded to make two smaller triangles for the ears.
The final touches were the eyes. I realized the size and location of the eyes were crucial into determining how cute your pigs look. After browsing through multiple pig steamed bun photos on google image search, I’ve determined that the smaller the eyes and further apart they are, the cuter the pig! For the final touch, we must use a toothpick and give these pigs their trademark nostrils.
It’s important to re-puncture their nostrils frequently because as the dough expands, their nostrils may close up. Similar to when you have a clogged nose, you must pick it and we did just that for these pigs!
Once the dough has increased in size a little bit after 15 mins, steam them for another 15 mins. You’ll notice that a lot of the pig’s features would’ve expanded significantly so it definitely helps to make their features a lot smaller than what you anticipate it to look like.
And that’s it! Aren’t these just the cutest things ever? Makes me not want to eat them…. That’s the problem with creating cute food I guess 🙁