If you happen to fancy your Chinese food, you may be familiar with an item formally known as “xiao long bao” and informally as “steamed buns.” These little wads of goodness can be filled with pork, chicken or just about anything else you fancy and are always tasty. Make sure to save your leftovers and read my tips below on how to reheat steamed buns.
Because they are small, tasty and can be purchased or ordered in large quantities, there are times where you may wind up with more buns than your stomach can handle.
When those moments strike, you may decide to either put them in the fridge, in order to finish them off the next day, or the freezer, if you know you will not be eating more for a while.
Regardless of how you decide to store your xiao long bao, you need to do a bit of work to revive them to their former glory.
How to Reheat Steamed Buns the Right Way
There are only two proper means of reviving cold or frozen xiao long bao without hardening or drying them in the process.
Method #1: Resteaming the Bun
This method entails using either a traditional steamer or a dedicated rice cooker.
- Grab a plate and place a wet paper towel over it. The towel should be wet enough that it appears wrinkly.
- Place the frozen xiao long bao atop the plate, with the damp paper towel in the middle.
- Move the plate to your preferred appliance.
- Power the appliance on.
- As the steaming appliance does its job, the water trapped within the paper towel will evaporate upward, passing through the buns and keeping them moist enough to remain soft.
- This method requires the same amount of time regardless of appliance. Shoot for 8 minutes of steam, then allow another 8 minutes for the buns to just sit within the appliance, effectively treating the buns to a mini-sauna session.
- Remove everything rom the appliance and enjoy your “re-steamed buns.”
Method #2: Your Trusty Microwave
Long regarded as a staple cooking appliance of apartments and homes, the microwave can competently revive your platters of steamed buns without any loss in flavor, texture or quality.
- Wet a paper towel in a manner similar to the previous method.
- Rather than placing the towel onto a plate, you will instead use it to wrap around the buns.
- Place the wrapped buns onto a microwavable plate.
- Transfer the plate of wrapped buns to your microwave.
- Set the microwave on high power and run it for a period of time between 60 and 90 seconds, based on how many buns you happen to be working with.
- Give the buns an additional 20 seconds of time to take in some of the steam that will have built up within the microwave’s heating chamber.
- Carefully remove the plate from the microwave.
- Unwrap the buns.
- Enjoy your reheated steamed buns.
The Steamy Finale
Steamed buns are a delicious staple of Chinese food that some people think is only good the first time. This mistaken belief likely arose from figuring out the trick to reheating a steamed bun.
As you can see from our two approaches, the only way to properly reheat a steamed bun is with steamy cooking methods.