Masala Buns – as soon as I saw the word ‘Masala’ I knew I’d like these buns.
I made these late in the day, so my son was the only one who ate one when it came out of the oven (about 10pm in the evening), he enjoyed it, so I knew they’d go down well with my husband the next day to take to work for lunch.
Jane’s foreword on these savoury buns is as follows:-
“Masala is a word used to describe a mixture of spices in South Asian cooking. Masala buns are savoury, enriched buns that are stuffed with something made with masala. They are eaten either as a light meal or a little snack and are perfect for picnics and lunchboxes”
From just reading this, they sounded perfect!
- 300g strong white flour
- 3/4 tsp instant yeast/1 tsp dry yeast or 6g fresh yeast
- 200g, plus 1 tbsp milk (heated to just below boiling point, then cooled to room temperature)
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter (or ghee)
- 250g floury potatoes
- 30g vegetable oil/ghee
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- pinch of turmeric
- 5mm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 small green or red chilli, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Milk to glaze
- Sesame seeds
Oven – 220°C, 425°F, Gas 7
After heating the milk up and allowing it to cool, it was time for the first step of the recipe. As in previous recipes from The Book of Buns (click on the link for a great price from The Book People), the flour was put into a mixing bowl and a ‘well’ made in the centre. I sprinkled the yeast into the well and added the cooled milk. After flicking some of the flour over the top of the milk, the bowl was covered and put to one side for an hour to rest.
After an hour the salt was sprinkled over the flour and the ingredients brought together in the bowl. I was short of time, having decided to make these buns late afternoon, so instead of kneading them by hand I popped the dough into my mixer and using the dough hook kneaded the dough for around 8 minutes, after which time it was lovely and smooth. Into the mixer went the butter, which I had cut into small cubes. I added the butter whilst the mixer was on gradually and kneaded it for a few more minutes until it had stopped being sticky. To finish it off, I turned it out and kneaded it by hand for a good 5 minutes. If you want to knead the dough by hand, then knead it for 10 minutes before you add the butter and knead it for another 10 minutes after. The dough was put back into the bowl, covered and left to rest for 2 hours.
Whilst the dough was resting I got on with making our evening meal and at the same time decided to make the filling for the buns. I think my husband was a little disappointed when he came home from work as from the smell in the kitchen, he thought I’d made a curry for tea!!! Instead he’d have to wait until he ate his lunch the next day!
The potatoes were peeled and boiled until soft. They were left to cool and then cut into little cubes. The oil was heated in a large frying pan to which I added the cumin seeds and onion. These were cooked over a medium heat until the onion had become translucent. A pinch of turmeric, the ginger and chilli was added and stirred continuously for 30 seconds, after which I lowered the heat and added the potato and salt. At this point stir the mixture very gently as you don’t want the potatoes to fall apart until they have been coloured by the spices. I could quite easily have eaten this whole pan of spicy potato mixture there and then it smelled delicious. Put this to one side to cool.
Once the dough has rested for a couple of hours, pull it gently out of the bowl and shape it into a tight sausage (stretch and fold the dough as though you were going around a clock first). Divide the sausage into eight equal parts and allow them to rest under a clean tea-towel for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes using the palm of your hand flatten each piece of dough with the palm of your hand until it’s about 5mm thick. Brush around the edge of the dough with water and place a spoonful of the potato filling into the centre of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough up to the top and pinch them together to seal the filling inside. Turn the bun over so that the sealed side is at the bottom and place it onto a baking sheet. Repeat the same with the other pieces of dough. I did have a little filling left over, but this was soon consumed by my husband, who said it was delicious! The buns were then allowed to rest under a clean tea-towel for an hour.
The oven was put on to preheat and just before they went into the oven the buns were brushed with milk and sprinkled over the top with sesame seeds (I added some poppy seeds too). They were baked in the oven for 20 minutes. Once baked they were put onto a wire rack to cool. As I said above it wasn’t long before my son ate one – but the rest of us waited until the next day. My husband took a few into work with him for lunch and I received a lovely message from him to say how delicious they were and how envious everybody else at work was when he started eating them and asked him where he’d bought them from!!! “Bought,” he said, “these are homemade!!”
They were indeed delicious and something I’d definitely make again, especially to take with us on a picnic…