Left my comfort zone of safe recipes and sooo glad I did. These little pockets of yum aren’t difficult to make and feel like the ultimate comfort food. There’s a mini movie about a steamed bun, “Bao” and since watching I have been thinking about whipping some up, finally I have!
They aren’t the prettiest, but taste is spot on. I think I may have fried the wrong side first? Either way it works, and they didn’t take long to steam. Using a combo of pan frying and steaming, you get a really nice fusion of firm and soft. So, go on and get-cho ass in the kitchen to fire these babies up. This amazing recipe is from Bianca Zapatka, made by Bianca.
- 2/3 c warm water approx 95 degrees (35 C)
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour + more for dusting
- 1-2 tbsp sesame oil for frying
- 1 stick leek finely chopped
- 7 oz white cabbage shredded
- 1 large carrot shredded
- 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 7 oz tofu, crumbled
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- salt to tast
- 1 tsp chili paste or sriracha
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/4 c water
To serve (optional)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- chopped green onions
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp agave syrup
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp srirach or chili paste
For the dough
- Mix the yeast with the water and sugar in a small bowl and set aside for around 5 minutes.
- Whisk together the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Pour in the water with yeast slowly and stir with a chopstick (or wooden spoon) until it clumps together. Transfer to a work surface and knead with your hands (or use a mixer with dough hooks) until a smooth and soft dough forms, about 5 minutes.
- Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for about 45 minutes, or until the ball has doubled in size.
Preparing the filling
- Heat the oil in a pan and finely chop the vegetables. Add the leek, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender.
- Then crumble the tofu in (it doesn’t have to be super small but broken up like chunky ground meat), soy sauce, salt and chili to taste. Mix well, cook off a bit of excess liquid from the tofu for about 3-4 minutes, and set aside to cool.
Assembling the buns
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, knead it briefly to remove all air bubbles.
- Then roll it into a long log and cut into 10 pieces. Work with one piece at a time and cover the rest with a clean kitchen towel to prevent from drying out.
- Flatten one piece of dough with your palm and roll it into a round wrapper with thinner edges, about 4.7 in (12 cm) in diameter.
- Add about 2-3 tbsp of filling to the center, then fold the bun up and around the filling, making sure you deal the top. Repeat until all the buns are assembled.
*Attached is a little photo to help visualize closing the bun.
Cooking the buns
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place the buns in the pan with the pinched side up (make sure to not overcrowd the pan), and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Once the bottoms are golden-brown and crispy, flip them over and carefully, pour in 1/4 c water to create steam. Immediately cover the pan, reduce to low heat and allow buns to steam for about 10 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.
- Remove from pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions, and serve with the dipping sauce. Enjoy that sh*t.