There are these comforting dishes that just need to be eaten sometimes … you know what I’m talking about for sure. Chinese steamed buns fall in that category in this household. There are a few meat filled options out there, even a vegetarian one but often in containing a series of E-numbers and flavor enhancers I try to avoid. So I have been making these vegan steamed bakpau buns and the boys are loving them. I thought they would be harder to make, or more of a fuss but the dough is really nice and easy to work with.
I make a “chicken” flavored filling using a meat sub for the base, that’s what they prefer. A only veg mushroom, spring onion, garlic, ginger, hoisin, sweet chili one would also be delicious. You can do any filling as long as it is not too wet and you like it right?! You find the complete recipe below this post.
This recipe makes 12 medium sized vegan steamed bakpau buns. I am doubling the recipe next time so I can freeze a few or have it the next day. The dough is not sticky and easy to roll out. It doesn’t have to be a perfect round shape, just add 1/12th of the filling and pinch the sides together starting with one pinch in the middle, then a pinch on the quarter side and going round until closed.
They need another rest when filled, about 15 minutes to puff up. I like to place them on a parchment paper dusted with flour so the don’t stick and can easily be placed in the steamer.
I have this steam pan which I use but a bamboo steamer would be great too. I have too of these baskets and I interchange them while steaming leaving the ready ones in it for a few minutes while off the heat. A bamboo one can also be stacked, that can come handy. Place the buns on a piece of parchment paper or a muffin form so the don’t stick but the steam can come through.
It takes about 12 minutes for a batch to steam and a few more minutes off the heat to let it settle before serving. The dough is very light and airy and the filling is flavorful. We eat these dipped in some sweet chili sauce.
The buns can also be baked in the oven on 400F/200C for about 25 minutes until golden. I placed them up side down to have a smooth top. I brushed them with some almond milk and added sesame seeds to a few.
I hope you give these a go and if you do let me know how they turned out! If you want to save this recipe you can print it or pin the picture below to your Pinterest board,
Vegan Steamed Bakpau Buns
- 2 and 1/4 cup flour or 270 grams sifted
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp luke warm water
- 2 and 1/4 tsp instant yeast or 1 envelop
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 6,2 ounces chicken chunks / meat substitute 175 grams
- 2 to 3 spring onions, sliced, only the light parts
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tsp sweet chili sauce
- 1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper
- 1/3 cup finely diced shiitake mushroom
- 1 tsp grated ginger or 1/2 tsp ginger powder to taste, optional
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
- sea salt to taste
- Add the instant yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water and let it become bubbly and ready to go. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Add the sifted flour to a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Pour in the yeast water and start bringing the dough together. You can kneed it with a food processor using the right attachment or by hand for about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Place it back in the bowl and cover it with a clean tea towel and let it rise for about 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Punch the air out, kneed it through a few times and form a log shape. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, you can eyeball this or use a scale. Form balls.
- Flatten the dough ball and add a scoop of filling in the middle, 1/12th of the filling. Pinch the up and down side of the round circle together, do the same in the middle of the other half. Start pinching the dough together to close it completely.
- Cover the ready to steam buns with a tea towel and finish rolling and filling all the dough. While you are doing this yo can heat some water in the pan you are going to be using to steam above.
- Put the chicken substitution in a small food processor and pulse to break it up into fine pieces that can stick together but not into a mush.
- Add the diced bell pepper, mushroom, grated ginger and garlic to a pan and saute it for about 5 minutes with one or two tbsp of water. Add in the "meat" and saute further for about 5 minutes. Add in the sliced green onions, flavorings and taste. Let it cool almost completely to make the filling of the buns easier.
- When all the buns are filled you can start the steaming with the first ones you filled, those will be the puffiest ones. Place the buns in the steamer basket on a paper muffin form or a piece of parchment paper. Leave room to grow. Mine fits 3 at a time.
- Place above boiling water, cover with a lid and steam for about 10 to 12 minutes. When done take them off the pan and let the buns sit still covered with the lid for a few minutes. I have two steaming baskets so I rotate when making this recipe.