Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ginger Teriyaki Turkey Buns

It's that time again! So far I've turned Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Oreo Raspberry Glaze into Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes, Penne Alla Vodka into Creamy Penne Alla Vodka, and some Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken into Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken Handpies. Up next on the list are what I proclaimed to be the most amazing burgers ever -- Ginger Teriyaki Burgers.

These burgers were not only made out of beef with a ginger teriyaki sauce mixed in, but also had a slice of pepper jack cheese nestled in the middle. Yum. Although today, I probably wouldn't label them as the "best burger ever", but they are pretty good. I think I was just so excited that I actually came up with my first truly unique recipe.

When it came to re-creating this dish, I knew right away I wanted to switch from ground beef to ground turkey to let the flavor of the sauce come through a bit more. While they go well together, the beef has a heavy enough flavor on its own that it somewhat overpowers and mutes the sauce. This time around I wanted that sauce to shine.

As I kept turning this recipe over in my mind trying to figure out how to change it, I decided I wanted to have it lean more towards Asian-inspired rather than American. I used the classic Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ pork buns) as an inspiration to wrap the flavored turkey inside a bun rather than between two halves of one. And it is so.good. I love that the buns are slightly sweet while the sauce reminds me of hibachi grill restaurants that I love so much.

Ginger Teriyaki Turkey Buns

Buns adapted from: Christine's Recipes
Sauce adapted from: Allrecipes.com

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup very hot water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons water

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Teriyaki sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar

In a large bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons sugar and hot water. Let sit until sugar has completely melted (may need to put in the microwave for a few seconds). Add oil and milk. Allow mixture to cool to 110-115 degrees F. Add yeast and stir well. Cover with a towel and let sit for 10 minutes in a warm, draft free spot. Mixture should be foamy on top when ready.

Stir in flour with a wooden spoon until the flour is mostly incorporated and the mixture looks shaggy. Knead dough by hand until no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a towel and let rest in a warm, draft free area until doubled in size (25 minutes).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium heat until no pink remains. Remove from heat & drain.

Combine the onion and next 5 ingredients (through Teriyaki sauce) in a food processor. Process until smooth. Pour sauce over ground turkey, tossing to make sure all the turkey is coated.

Divide dough into 6 equal portions. Flatten each section into a 4-5 inch round, leaving the center thicker. Add about 2 2/3 ounces (about 4 tablespoons) filling to the center of each disk, then fold the ends over each other. Seal the seams well. Place buns seam-side down on the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons water. Brush egg wash over each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until buns are golden brown.

Yields: 6 buns

My first attempt at these sweet little buns was a disaster. Actually, I think it was my first failed yeast dough. After 2+ hours the dough had barely risen, definitely not "tripled in size" as it was supposed to. And of course, it was well past time we should have eaten, sooo it ended up being pizza night. But I knew this was the way I wanted to go, not to mention I still had turkey sitting in the fridge. A few nights and a new recipe later, and we had success. I was a little hesitant with using the recipe I did as it had such a short rise time compared to the other recipes I had come across, but trust me, it works.

You could also go the steaming route, which seems to be a bit more popular with Char Siu Bao, but seeing as I don't have the right equipment, baked it was. (And anyways, I think the baked version replaces hamburger buns a little better.) Either way, these will be delicious.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 395Calories from fat 117
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.9g20%
Saturated Fat 3.4g17%
Cholesterol 113mg38%
Sodium 882mg37%
Total Carbs 40.5g14%
Dietary Fiber 1.7g7%
Sugars 6.8g
Protein 27.5g
Vitamin A 1%Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 5%Iron 22%


  1. What a great recipe, I really like the idea!

  2. Hey Danielle!

    Yum! I love your idea of wrapping it all up in a Chinese bun. I'm sure the slight sweetness of the dough carried the flavors of your sauce quite nicely. Way to be creative!

  3. I looooove those Chinese pork buns. One of my all-time favorite foods. I've been wanting to make them myself for a very long time--thanks for the recipe!

  4. What a great recipe re-do! These look amazing!

  5. these look amazing! what a fun twist on the usual burger. i'll definitely be trying these out on my hubby

  6. Mountain Man has actually been wanting to make something like this.. I'll have to send him your way for inspiration!

  7. Wow! They look incredibly delicious! I am most definitely trying this recipe. It would be a sin not to try it. Thanks so much for sharing! =]

  8. Nice! I love steamed buns but have never tried making them myself. Super creative use of leftovers!

  9. It's really amazing how much better you've gotten at photography. Your photos are stunning now. These look sooo sooo good. I want one now at 9am. :)

  10. Those burgers sound incredible! And the buns are just amazing... I want this now!

  11. Just hand me the hot mustard and I will be happy as a clam with your teriyaki buns.

  12. These sound great. Ive been slowly working more ground poultry into our diet and this would be another sneaky way for me to do it.
    I do hate when a dough doesn't rise. Sometimes I wish I knew why...



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