Put all the dough ingredients in a bowl, and mix and knead until smooth. Form into a ball and leave to rise for 30 minutes (1st rising). Using a bread machine for this step is convenient.
Punch down the dough to deflate, and divide into 8 balls. Mix the anko and kinako together to make the filling. Divide into 8 balls.
Cover the dough with a moistened kitchen towel to prevent drying.
Press each piece of dough flat as shown in the photo, so that the edges are thin and the center is a bit thicker.
Place a ball of filling in the middle.
Wrap the dough around it.
Seal the opening and place the ball seam side down.
Press into an oval shape.
Use a clean comb to make a line for the neck of the hedgehog.
Make eyes with 2 mung beans. You can use any small beans for this. Black sesame seeds can be used too.
Cut the dough under the eyes to make the mouth.
Cut the body to make the needles.
Keep cutting all the way down.
Repeat to make 8 hedgehog shaped buns.
Put the hedgehogs in a warm place for 30 minutes for the 2nd rising. It's convenient to do this in the steamer, by putting 85F/30 C water. Cover with a lid so the dough doesn't dry out.
After the 2nd rising, the dough will double in size.
Bring the water in the bottom of steamer to a boil. When it's steaming, put the steamer on with the lid and steam the buns for 13 minutes over high heat. Turn the heat off and leave to rest with the lid still on for 3 minutes. Done.
Story Behind this Recipe
My mother used to make these steamed buns for me when I was a child, and they bring back fond memories. I made these for the children of my friend.
The key points are to let the dough rise to double its original size during the 2nd rising, and to leave the steamer lid on for 3 minutes after you turn off the heat. Adding kinako to the anko paste will make it a bit stiffer, giving the hedgehogs a nice shape.