2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup warm water PLUS 2 tablespoons
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 oz active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
red bean paste
12 4-5 inch wide wax paper or parchment paper squares
For the dough:
In a small bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of the sugar in the water. Sprinkle in the yeast and allow to sit 10 minutes. Mix in the remaining sugar, 2 cups of flour and the salt. Mix until the dough is no longer sticky, adding additional flour as needed. Place dough on a floured service and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, roll it into a cylinder. Cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball. Then roll each ball into a circle about 4-6 inches in diameter. Place 1 tablespoon (or slightly more) of filling into the center of the circle. Pull the edges of the circle up over the filling, pinch in the center to seal. Place the buns seam side down on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and repeat for each circle, leave a 2 inch space between each bun. Cover and let rise until puffy and light. Bring water to boil in wok or saucepan. Place buns (still on waxed paper squares) in a bamboo steamer. Place over boiling water (using a wok works well) and steam about 15 minutes or until glossy and smooth.
Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave (for about 2 minutes) with great success.