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How to cook frozen steam buns

I got some frozen steam buns in Chinatown and tried to cook them. I steamed them in a bamboo steamer (over a wok); one for 15 minutes, the other for 20. I guess they came out done, but in both cases they were wet and gummy. I steamed another one for 15 minutes, then gave it an addiional ten in the toaster oven -- this time it was hard (not dry) but gummy inside. What am I doing wrong? (If I had a microwave, I'd try that, but I don't have one). Any suggestions?

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  1. my wife made me a few dozen vietnamese buns, and we froze them in plastic wrap. i found microwaving them for 2 minutes on 20% and then on high for 20 seconds while wrapped in the plastic wrap worked pretty well.

    1. It sounds like you've steamed them for too long. Try cutting back to 10 minutes. The microwave doesn't work for them anyway. It comes out soft, sometimes, but hardens really quickly, even if you cover them w/ wet paper towels.

      1. Microwave will work on non frozen buns, you will have to experiment with your microwave due to differences in power, starting around 15-25 seconds for a filled bun, less for an unfilled bun. I would check a frozen bun in a hot steamer around 4-5 minutes.

        I use tooth picks and bamboo skewers when learning how to heat new things.

        1. Just a wild guess here....but I have some in my freezer so I am interested...maybe we should thaw first? I better go read the directions....

          1 Reply
          1. re: saticoy

            Don't thaw them out, having them frozen and putting them on the steamer is the best way

          2. When I'm steaming bao, I always cut pieces of parchment, or waxed paper if that's all I have, to set them on, and I never give them more than 12 minutes, always from frozen. Non-fluffy dumplings such as shumai and gyoza get the same time, but with no paper underneath, just a coating of spray grease (I'm not using a bamboo steamer, but a two-part aluminum one.

            1. I buy a lot of frozen chinese vegetable buns and steam them in my electric steamer for about 30 minutes and they come out perfectly. I think the electric steamers are better than the bamboo steamers actually.

              1. I steam mine for 5-10 minutes (I usu. go for 7-8 as I hate gooey!) in a bamboo steamer. I make sure the water is boiling before I put them in and take them right out of the freezer (I don't let them sit on the counter while the water boils) The ones I buy already have a bit of waxed paper under them. The filling is always hot when I do it this way.

                1. The last batch I steamed for 12 minutes,then, silnce they were sorta damp, I put them in the toaster oven at 200 degrees for 5 minutes to dry them out, and they were o.k.... O.K. in a pinch, that is, but can't compare with the ones from Chinatown. (But then again, what did I expect??)

                  1. Today was my first time doing steamed buns, if your using a bamboo steamer I would only dream it for 10 minutes no less than 7 minutes and no more than 10 minutes;)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cici1985

                      I meant steam!lol but make sure to feel it too, I should feel smooth and dry not gummy

                    2. I've been steaming a lot of frozen things in an old, wire basket over a 6 quart pot with a lid. I let the water come up to a rolling boil and then put the basket in and in 10 minutes (covered) they are ready. Not slimy, not sticky.

                      1. Another trick is to wrap a kitchen towel around your lid so the underside of the lid is completely covered by the towel, which will then trap steam and keep it from dripping back on to your food.

                        1. Steam. First take out the frozen bun and let them rest (not defrost) for about 10 minutes on the counter. Then steam by letting the water come to a boil, then shutting off the heat, and keeping the steamer covered. Should be done in about 10 minutes with no degradation in quality.

                          If you want to microwave, this is what you do. Again, take them out and let them rest for about 10 minutes in room temp. Then wrap them in a damp (not wet, but damp) paper towel, and microwave at about medium for about 1:30 or 2 minutes. Check intermittently to see if the buns are warmed through as microwave temps vary.

                          Good luck.