The Chinese Bao (or Baozi) are the steamed buns with a filling inside that can be of meat (pork, etc.) or vegetables. The buns are quite wholesome and can be eaten as a snack or as part of a meal. If you travelled in Asian countries, you might have seen steamed buns at the airport lounges and restaurants.
Sometimes, the name tags at the bun counters will say “vegetarian or vegetable buns”. Those are probably not vegetarian or vegan because in Chinese food, eggs and pork are used in almost everything. So, unless the staff at the counter understands English and is able to confirm that the buns are vegetarian, you may like to avoid those. Fortunately, making vegan steamed buns at home is quite easy.
Vegetable-filled Steamed Buns
The Wrapper Dough
- Take 4 cups of refined wheat flour (all-purpose flour) in a bowl.
- Add one level teaspoon instant yeast.
- Knead the flour well with warm water. The prepared dough should be similar to what you make for Turkish bread.
The suggested ingredients for the filling are:
- Spring onions
- Firm Tofu
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Shred or finely chop all the vegetables. Crumble the tofu after squeezing out all the water.
- Add olive oil to the shredded vegetables and mix well so that all the veggies are coated with the oil. Then add salt & pepper.
- Add tofu to the veggies and mix again.
- Divide the dough into small portions and roll into slightly thick wrappers (small circles), about 4-inches in diameter.
- Add the filling and close the wrapper in the shape of a bun.
- Leave the buns to ferment for 45 minutes.
- Steam for 15 minutes.
- Turn the stove off but let the steamer remained covered for 5 minutes.
Vegan steamed buns are ready.
Don’t forget to coat the shredded vegetables with oil before adding salt. This prevents the vegetables from releasing water. And do not remove the lid of the steamer for 5 minutes after turning the stove off. These two priceless tips come to you from ‘Cooking With May Lynn’ Youtube channel.
In fact there is a simple video recipe of ‘Vegetarian Buns/Traditional Chinese Food’ on May Lynn’s Youtube channel that you should watch. Here is the link: Vegetarian Buns/Traditional Chinese Food