Here is something to take centre stage on your Christmas table, something I absolutely love, thanks to Ria's easy recipe. I have tried this a couple of times and love it. You can play around with the stuffing and what's even better is, you can freeze them and bake as and when required.
Ria's recipe yields absolutely soft and spongy buns and although they are a delight to feast on, Ro keeps complaining about them sticking in his mouth (which I agree, but he's all dramatic about it). So I now make a whole wheat-plain flour combo which still yields soft buns and doesn't have the sticking problem. I would like to think its more healthier as well :)
For the dough
Plain flour- 1 1/2 cups (plus enough to dust the work surface)
Wholemeal flour- 1/2 cup
Active dry yeast- 1 tbsp
Sugar- 1 tbsp
Warm water- 2 tbsp
Warm milk- 1/2 cup
Oil- 1/4 cup
Egg- 1, lightly beaten
Salt- to taste
Egg white or milk for wash
Sesame seeds- to sprinkle on top (optional)
For the filling
Minced/ shredded chicken- 400 gms
Onion- 1 large, finely chopped
Ginger paste- 1/2 tbsp
Garlic paste- 1/2 tbsp
Green chillies- 2, finely chopped (optional)
Tomato- 1 large, finely chopped
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Potato- 1 large, diced into small cubes
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Coconut milk- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves- a couple of stalks chopped fine (optional)
Oil- 2 tbsp
Take 1/2 tbsp flour from the mix and combine it with 1/2 tbsp sugar and yeast.
Add the warm water to that and mix well till the sugar and yeast has completely dissolved.
Keep aside for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. You would know its alive by the bubbles that form.
Into a large mixing bowl pour the milk, oil and remaining sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Tip in 1 cup of the flour mix and using a wooden spoon mix well till you get a paste like consistency.
Add the beaten egg followed by the yeast mix and stir it in.
Finally add the remaining 1 cup flour and stir vigorously till everything comes together. You can do this entire process using a mixer with dough hook attachment.
Otherwise, knead it well on a floured work surface for at least 10 minutes, till the dough is soft and pliable.
Oil the same mixing bowl lightly and keep the dough in it. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place to rise. I preheat the oven to 100C for about 5 minutes, turn it off and then place the dough inside.
While the dough is proofing, get the filling ready.
Heat oil in a large frying pan and saute the onions till they turn a light golden brown in colour
Add the ginger and garlic pastes and stir for about 2 minutes or till the raw smell disappears.
In goes the chilli, coriander and turmeric powder. Stir for a minute or so for the spices to cook
Throw in the diced tomato/ paste and cook till the oil starts separating. This could take about 6 to 7 minutes on medium heat.
Add the diced potato followed by minced/ shredded chicken, season with enough salt and stir to bring all the ingredients together.
Cook till the chicken and potatoes are done and the water has completely evaporated.
When it is more or less dry, add the coconut milk and stir well. Cook further till you get a semi-gravy like consistency. It shouldn't be too watery, nor too dry.
Sprinkle the garam masala and coriander leaves and give one final stir. Do the taste test, add more if required.
Once done, transfer into a bowl and keep aside to cool completely.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down gently using your hands, give a couple of gentle kneads and divide the dough into 15 equal parts. (If you have an obsession like me, then weigh each ball to get the exact size)
Take a dough ball, make a small disc shape (either using your rolling pin, or stretch using your hands) and place 1 tbsp of the filling into the centre.
Wrap it up by bring all the edges together and pinch the top gently to seal the filling.
Try and reshape them into a perfect ball and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Continue doing the same with all the dough balls and keep them aside for about 30 minutes to prove again.
Towards the end of your proving time, preheat the oven to 200C.
Just before you chuck them into the oven, whisk the egg white a bit and brush generously on top of the buns.
Sprinkle sesame seeds (if using) and bake in the middle shelf for 10 to 12 minutes or the tops are golden brown and glossy.
Take it out of the oven, cool for about 3 to 4 minutes, arrange them in a bread basket and serve with all the Christmas charm you can muster up :)
If you plan on making the buns only the next day, then place them in the refrigerator overnight. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding with the filling.