June 12, 2016

Vegan BBQ Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao)

I'd go into detail about how BBQ Pork Buns, among other Chinese bakery goods, were vital parts of my childhood, but I'm on the brink of passing out from exhaustion ;) I'll let the photos and the recipe do the talking for today :)

Recipe: Vegan BBQ Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao)
By: Hannah Claudia
(Milk Bread Recipe by: Mary's Test Kitchen)

2 cups of dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and then soaked in hot water for 1 hour)
1/4-1/3 cup of Chinese BBQ Pork Sauce (I used a store bought -- unhealthy -- version; you can make your own using the basting liquid in this recipe)

(opt) 1 tablespoon of maple syrup + 2 tablespoons of water
(opt) black sesame seeds


For the filling:
1. Drain the hot water from the mushrooms.
2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop the mushroom caps.
3. Toss the mushrooms in the Chinese BBQ Pork sauce. Set aside.

For the buns:
1. Divide the bread dough into dough balls, approximately 2.5" in diameter.
2. Take one dough ball, roll it out (let the edges be thicker than the middle because you'll have to pull the edges in order to pinch the seams closed) until the center is about 1/4" thick.
3. Take approx. 1-2 tablespoonfuls of the filling and place it in the center of the dough ball. Pull the edges of the dough to the center, pinching them together to seal the bun.
4. Place the buns, pinched side down, on a baking sheet lined with greased wax paper. Repeat this process for all of your dough.
5. Let the buns rise for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size. (During the last 15 minutes of rising, I like to preheat the oven or boil water for the steamer -- I place the buns on the baking sheet on top of the stove; the residual heat helps the buns rise!)

Baking the buns:
1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.
2. Brush the buns with the maple syrup/water mixture and top with black sesame seeds.
3. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350*F and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the buns sound hollow when tapped.

Steaming the buns*:
1. Prepare a steamer by adding water to a pot/wok and bringing it to a rolling boil (water should not be touching the steam basket/plate that you'll use to steam the buns in).
2. Place little squares of wax paper under each bun, top each bun with black sesame seeds, and transfer to steamer once the water comes to a boil.
3. Cover the steamer/plate and steam the buns for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the dough comes out clean.

*This is not the traditional dough recipe for steamed BBQ Pork Buns, but it's just another way to cook these buns! A more traditional version can be found here.

xoxo, han

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