Serves Makes 12 buns
1½ cups (375 ml) warm water
½ tbsp (7 ml) instant yeast
3 cups (750 ml) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 ml) granulated sugar
4 tbsp (60 ml) vegetable oil, divided
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
½ tsp (2.5 ml) + 1 tsp (5 ml) salt, divided
½ cup (125 ml) thinly sliced chives or green onions
½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped garlic
1 small shallot, finely chopped
¾ cup (175 ml) vegetable oil
2 tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar
1 tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 ml) brandy
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
½ cup (125 ml) chili flakes
1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame seeds


  1. In large bowl, mix water and yeast and stir until dissolved. Add flour, sugar, 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil, baking powder and ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt. Mix until combined, then knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. This can also be done in a mixer with a dough hook
  2. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours; time will depend on temperature of room. Alternatively, allow to proof in refrigerator overnight.
  3. Divide dough into 12 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a ball and cover with damp towel. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together remaining 3 tbsp (45 ml) oil, remaining 1 tsp (5 ml) salt and chives or green onions. Set mixture aside. Prepare a saucepan with boiling water and steaming basket. Cut twelve 3-in (8 cm) square pieces of parchment paper.
  5. To shape buns, place a dough ball on lightly floured surface and roll into an oval, about ¼-in (0.5 cm) thick. Leaving 1 end uncut, cut ¼-in (0.5 cm) wide slits along the length of oval. Spread 1 tsp (5 ml) of oil and chive mixture over dough. To shape, pinch together dough on both ends and twist hands in opposite directions to roll up into a spiraled log, then gently roll up the log into a circle, tucking 1 end into centre to form a knot. Place knot on a piece of parchment in steamer. Once steamer is filled (try to leave 1-in (2.5 cm) between knots), cover with lid and allow knots to rise for 10 minutes. If you have several steamer baskets, continue shaping knots and allow to rise in baskets. If you only have 1 basket, shape them all and place on a baking sheet in refrigerator, then rise and steam in batches. Steam over high heat for 10 minutes. Remove steamer from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before opening. Serve warm. Buns can be reheated by steaming for 3 minutes over high heat. Serve with Brandy Chili Oil. Makes 12 buns
  6. BRANDY CHILI OIL: In a small saucepan, combine garlic, shallot and oil. In a small bowl, mix vinegar, soy sauce, brandy, salt and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Oil will start bubbling and release a lot of steam. Continue cooking until garlic is light golden brown, bubbling has slowed and there is no longer any steam coming from saucepan.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in chili flakes and sesame seeds. Allow to cool, then transfer to a jar. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes 1 cup (250 ml)
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