Today’s recipe is for traditional Korean jjinppang: fluffy steamed buns filled with red beans. I shared a similar recipe a long time ago for steamed fluffy buns filled with vegetables and meat called jjinppang-mandu. My jjinppang mandu recipe has been used by many of my readers over years and the video has been popular too, even though it was filmed before I had an HD camera and looks kind of blurry.
Hot and fluffy steamy jjinppang is irresistible! They are soft on the outside with chunky sweet red bean paste in the middle, great for a dessert or snack, or even a light meal.
One key to this recipe is to leave some chunky bits of the red beans and skins in the filling so it has a bit of a rough, homemade texture.
I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe for a long time, just like my jjinppang-mandu recipe!
For sweet red bean filling:
- 1 cup dried red beans (aka azuki beans, or pat in Korean)
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar (or white, brown sugar)
- ¼ cup rice syrup
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1½ cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast (1 package)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3½ cup plus ¼ cup all purpose flour
Prepare the beans:
- Wash and soak the red beans overnight, for at least 10 hours. They will expand to about 2½ cups of beans.
- Drain and put the beans into a heavy pot. Add 4 cups of water. Cook for 1 hour over medium heat until the beans are very tender.
- Add sugar, rice syrup, kosher salt, and vanilla extract. Roughly mash with a potato masher. Turn up the heat to medium high heat and stir a few minutes until the bean mixture turns thick and juicy. Remove from the heat. Cover and set aside.
Prepare the dough:
- Heat the butter in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until well melted. Add sugar and stir well. Remove from the heat.
- To cool it down so the yeast can work, add cold milk and mix it well. Then add the yeast and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast gets foamy.
- Add the salt and stir it well with a wooden spoon. Add flour and mix well for about a minute.
- Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes until smooth. Cover and let it sit on the kitchen counter for 1 hour until the dough doubles in size.
- Deflate the dough and knead it again for a few minutes. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Make and shape the buns:
- Before shaping the buns, fill your steamer with about 2½ inches of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Put the steamer basket next to you, so you can add buns to it as you work. Place a cotton cloth (or “steaming sheet”) in the steamer basket.
- Deflate and knead the dough until smooth. Use the remaining ¼ cup flour to dust your cutting board.
- Divide the dough into about 10 pieces, with each piece being about 3 ounces. Form into smooth balls and put them on the cutting board. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out while you work.
- Flatten each dough ball into a disk about 3½ inches in diameter. The edges should be thinner than the middle because we’re going to gather them together to form a bun and we don’t want that part to be too thick.
- Put about 2 ounces of sweet red bean filling into the center of the disk. Lift the edges up around the filling and pinch them together to seal tightly and make a bun.
- Put it on the cutting board with the sealed side down. Turn it around and shape it with your hands into a small mountain. Put it on the steamer basket lined with steamer liner or perforated parchment paper.
- Make the rest of the buns, spacing them 1 inch apart on the steamer basket so they have room to expand. Let them rise for 30 minutes.
Steam and serve:
- Reheat the water in the steamer and put the steamer baskets with the buns inside. Put a large cotton cloth under the lid so that the water doesn’t drip back down onto the buns. Cover and steam over medium hight heat for 12 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low and cook an additional 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve right away.
- Freeze (up to one month) or refrigerate (up to one week) any leftovers. When you want one, steam or reheat it in a microwave.