Vegan bao buns are light and fluffy and can be stuffed with the filling of your choice. You don’t need a mixer or steamer to try out our tasty recipe.
Steamed bao buns are a kind of Chinese bread roll made from pantry staples. The ingredients are combined to form a dough which is then rolled out and cut into circles. These are then folded in half and quickly steamed to create soft and fluffy bao buns.
Vegan bao buns can be stuffed with the filling of your choice, such as satay jackfruit, fried tofu, and soy sauce, or grilled vegetables and melted cheese. If you don’t have a steamer, we’ll show you how to steam these delicious buns on the stove in no time.
You can enjoy a couple of vegan bao buns as an appetizer, or go all out and have them as a main course, with a side salad. Let’s find out it’s done.
How to Make Vegan Bao Buns
Yield: 20 buns
- ¼ cup superfine sugar
- 2½ cups plain flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ½ packet instant yeast
- 2¼ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ cup vegetable oil + extra for brushing
- ¾ cup lukewarm water
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cornstarch, yeast, and baking powder.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the vegetable oil and warm water and gradually add them to the larger mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed.
- Flour your hands and the work surface and place the dough ball on it. Knead it using your hands for about ten minutes, until elastic and smooth.
- Place the dough ball in a large clean bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Put the bowl somewhere warm for one to two hours, until the dough doubles in size.
- Place the dough on the floured surface and pound it using the bottom of your palm, to knock out the air bubbles. Then knead for a few minutes and use a rolling pin to roll it out, about half a centimeter thick.
- Use a 3-inch pastry cutter to cut out dough circles. Keep re-rolling the dough scraps and cutting out circles until the dough is finished.
- Cut a piece of compostable parchment paper into enough squares to match the number of bao dough circles and their size. Place on a baking tray and brush each square with vegetable oil, then place one bao dough circle on each square and brush the top of each bao dough circle with vegetable oil.
- Fold each bao dough circle in half and press down lightly — they will open a little when cooking.
- Cover the baking tray with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm area for 30-45 minutes, the circles will puff up slightly.
- To steam on the stove, pour water into a medium-sized pan until about a quarter full. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer.
- Put three or four of the bao dough buns in the steamer or colander and lower it into the pan, ensuring the bottom does not touch the water. Steam for ten to twelve minutes and repeat until all of the buns are cooked — they should be fluffy and soft when finished.
- To steam in an electric steamer preheat the water compartment of the steamer and put the bao dough buns and their parchment paper in the second tier of the steamer. Cover and steam for ten to twelve minutes and repeat until all of the buns are cooked — they should be fluffy and soft when finished.
- Remove the bao from the steamer and serve with the filling of your choice.
Eggplant and Zucchini Bao Filling
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 medium eggplant, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 carrot
- A handful of fresh parsley
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Warm the oil in a large frying pan and fry the zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper until slightly browned.
- Mix the rice vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Add to the frying pan and simmer for two to three minutes until the sauce gets thicker. Remove from the heat.
- Grate the carrot and chop the parsley.
- Fill the bao buns with the eggplant and zucchini filling and top with the grated carrot, chopped parsley, and sesame seeds.
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