Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Steamed Coconut Buns with Chicken and Broccoli - recreating Jamie Oliver!

A couple of nights ago I was catching up on a couple of episodes of Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals (not sure how many people can achieve the meals in 15 minutes, but that's beside the point!). Jamie Oliver is one of my food idols - I love his rustic style and the way he just throws food around, rips it up, hacks into stuff and gets in there with his hands. His presentation style of chucking everything on a giant board also totally appeals, and it is such a great family style way of eating.

The meal I was watching was a chinese inspired dish of Steamed Coconut Buns with Steamed Chicken and Broccoli. The chicken was cooked in hoisin sauce, and the whole meal was so simple, fresh and healthy that it became my new 'must cook' meal. I had a few thoughts while watching it on how I could make it gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and generally just clean it up a bit. Jamie Oliver does generally cook really amazing whole, real food which is part of what appeals, and this meal was no exception. However, the coconut buns had wheat flour in them, and the hoisin sauce was from a jar and I thought I would take it one step further and create gluten-free buns and make the hoisin sauce from scratch. I also added a few extra vegetables just to round the meal out a little.

The end result was a meal that was so simple and delicious and absolutely devoured by the family! The kids devoured the chicken in particular, and hubby went nuts for the coconut buns, which is impressive considering he is a real bread lover and very particular about the quality!

For the buns, the original recipe just uses flour and coconut milk. Very simple. To be fair I didn't try the original version as they used wheat flour, but when I recreated them with gluten-free flour they were just a little bit bland, and gluten-free flour can also have a slight aftertaste if it doesn't have much in it to create flavour. My first batch were a bit of a failure in that sense, as well as being very dense and more rock cake than moist little bun. so I decided to have a little play with the flavours and quantities and ended up with a light, fluffy tasty little bun. These are so extremely easy to make and are a fantastic alternative as a carbohydrate with your meal. The next step in my plan is to come up with a way of making them using coconut flour so that they can be grain free as well for any of you paleo types out there, but at this stage I have kept it simple with simple gluten-free self raising flour.

For the hoisin sauce I spent a bit of time googling ideas on how to recreate the flavour. The most popular versions used a base of soy sauce and peanut butter. Not too bad, but let's take it to the next level nutritionally by using coconut aminos and almond butter. The sauce worked really well with the changes, and really complimented the flavour in the buns.

Here is the end result:


For the original recipe, just google Jamie Oliver Coconut Buns and you should be able to find all of the information. For the Clean, Lean, Gluten-Free version follow the instructions below. Sadly my flair for presentation is not quite up to Jamie Oliver standards, partly due to being generally bad at styling, and partly because I am always trying to take photos while I have the kids sitting at the table demanding their dinner, so it is usually done in a massive hurry! I always have these grand ideas on how I will make it look amazing, but then the time pressure gets to me and I just throw it on a plate and take a blurry snap!

Steamed Coconut Buns with Chicken and Broccoli

(Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, free of refined sugar)

Homemade Hoisin Sauce:

4 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
1.5 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, crushed

1. Using either a small blender, a bowl with a whisk or just an old jar, combine all ingredients and blend, whisk or shake well until combined. Set aside until ready to use.

Steamed Chicken with broccoli:

500g chicken breast or tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, chopped into 1cm thick diagonal slices
½ cup field mushrooms, chopped
½ cup button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup snow peas, trimmed 
10 stems of broccolini, or 10 large broccoli florets

1. Cut chicken into thin strips and place into a large bowl. Cover with about 2-3 tbsps of your prepared hoisin sauce. If you have time, marinate for an hour or so, but if not it doesn't matter.
2. Add chopped vegetables to the bowl, excluding the broccoli and snow peas. Get sauce coating everything well.
3. In a large steamer, place combined chicken and vegetables. Lay snow peas and broccoli over the top. Steam for around 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked.
4. Serve on a large plate and garnish with fresh coriander and diced chilli.

All set ready for some steamy action

Coconut Buns:

½ cup coconut milk
1 cup gluten free self raising flour
1 tbsp coconut aminos
pinch of chilli
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder

1. Over medium heat set up a food steamer with a few inches of water in the bottom. Bring to the boil to create steam (ideally you would be best to use a bamboo steamer, but any steamer pot system will work).
2. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until a sticky dough forms.
3. Place large scoops of the dough into muffin patty cases.
4. Place patty cases in the steamer and steam for around 10 minutes until cooked through.
5. Serve as soon as possible. These are best when still warm and fluffy.



Cucumber Pickle:

½ telegraph cucumber
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel lengthways down the cucumber to get long ribbons. Combine in a bowl with dressing. Give it a good squeeze with your hands to really get the pickle flavour infused into the cucumber

To garnish:

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds (over a low heat in a small frying pan, toast the seeds until golden brown)
large handful of coriander, roughly torn
1 red chilli, roughly chopped

To assemble the meal:

Put the buns and the chicken on large plates, and in small bowls put the rest of the hoisin sauce, the sesame seeds and the cucumber. To eat, get in there with your hands! Rip the buns apart, dip them in the sauce, then the seeds, stuff them full of the chicken... make it your way!

This meal really will become a family favourite, and although it wasn't quite 15 minutes as per Jamie Oliver, it was probably only about half an hour to make all up. Fast, healthy, filling and affordable - what could be better?!