While I was out shopping the other day, I picked up an item that looked like it might come in handy. It's a U-shaped piece of plastic with one arm molded to fit snugly in your hand and the other arm notched to hold the handles of a shopping bag. This way, the weight of the bag is spread over a broader area and, theoretically, won't cut into your fingers.
I tested it out today by carrying a plastic grocery bag containing several large books (including a kanji dictionary) to work today. The bag was still heavy, of course, but the device did indeed relieve the sharp cutting pain of the handles. Dare I hope that this is the solution to all my manga welt problems?
In other news, I was asked for a Chinese stuffed bun recipe, so today I translated two from the cookbooks I have here.
I've tried this particular recipe, and it works pretty well, though I wasn't very good at pinching the top shut. Also note that the buns expand while cooking. You can use whatever you like as the filling, though it should be well spiced. I tried it with spicy potatoes and cheese, and that worked all right, though the corners of the potato cubes tended to poke into the raw dough. If the filling is too juicy, it tends to squish out, as I found when I experimented with a combination of pizza sauce and cheese. (It still tastes good, though.)
200g (2 c) flour
100g (1 c) bread flour
1/2 c warm milk
2 T oil
2 t baking powder
- Sift together flour and bread flour into a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients in A.
- Add A along with remaining ingredients to flour and mix well.
- Knead resulting dough for about 7-8 minutes and form into a ball.
- Briefly remove dough from bowl. Lightly oil the inside of the bowl, then place the ball of dough inside and cover with a warm, damp cloth. Allow to rise until it approximately doubles in size.
- Place dough on a floured surface and flatten slightly. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a circle about 5" in diameter. (It works best if the edge of the circle is thinner than the center.)
- Place desired filling in the center of the circle and bring edge of circle up to surround it, pinching together at the top.
- Place buns on wax paper in a steamer and steam for 18 minutes.
This makes one large bun. I imagine you could divide it into smaller buns first, but they would all stick together when cooked. I haven't tried it personally, so I couldn't tell you how well it turns out.
1 T sake
85 cc (1/2 c less 1 T) water
- Put A in a mixing bowl and stir.
- Mix together sake and water and add to A
- Knead the dough lightly and remove from bowl.
- Flour the inside of the bowl and lay dough inside. Flatten dough, spreading it out against the sides of the bowl.
- Place the filling in the center and use a spatula to fold the edge of the dough over to cover the filling. Press closed.
- Lightly oil the inside of the rice cooker and put the ball of dough inside, "opening" side up. Add 2 T of water to the bottom of the rice cooker around the bun.
- Close the rice cooker and switch it on. When it turns itself off, take the bun out and divide as desired.