Pulled Mushroom Baos
Bao buns are a popular Chinese street food, similar to a sandwich and often filled with braised meat, or chicken. They’ve become more popular in the West in recent years and are increasingly available at restaurants, food trucks and all over.
They are made just similar to many bread recipes, except they are steamed instead of baked. These bao buns are filled with savory pulled mushrooms, subbing in for meat-based fillings, and topped with vegan mayo and salsa macha.
This recipe comes to us from Mike Davies of Umami Plant Based.
Makes 8 bao buns
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For the Bao Buns:
- 1 cup (150g) white flour
- 3/4 cup (85g) warm water
- 3/4 tsp (3.5g) dried instant yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
For the Sticky Pulled Mushrooms:
- 2.11 cups (500g) oyster mushrooms, broken into smaller pieces
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup (100g) tamari
- 1 tbsp (20g) rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup (140ml) water
- 2 tbsp (10g) cornstarch
- 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar or agave
- 1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
For the Salsa Macha:
- 1/2 cup (50g) lightly roasted peanuts
- 6 tbsp (30g) Korean chili flakes
- 1/4 cup (30g) fresh garlic, roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
To make the Bao Buns:
1. In a glass, mix the yeast, sugar, oil, and warm water. Leave for 5 minutes.
2. Mix the flour and the salt. Add the water mix to the bowl of flour and mix with a spoon until all the liquid is absorbed, then take it out onto a surface and begin to knead the dough. Knead until it is smooth and elastic (around 5-8 minutes).
3. Place the kneaded dough back into the clean bowl, cover with 1/2 tsp of oil and cover with a damp cloth to prevent oxidization. Leave it to proof (rise).
4. When the dough is about 1.5 times (or double) in size, take it out of the bowl and lightly touch the dough with your fingers. It will be nice and puffy.
5. Divide into 8 equally sized pieces. Use your hands and the table to shape them into balls.
6. Cover with a damp cloth again and let rise for another 30 minutes.
7. After the 30 minute rise, they are now ready to roll out. With a little bit of flour (only if necessary) roll the balls out with a rolling pin into ovals. Then rub a bit of oil on the bottom part of the oval and fold it half. The oil prevents the buns from sticking after they are cooked.
8. Place as many as you can in your steamer (A Chinese bamboo steamer can fit about 3 on each layer), turn up the heat and heat until the water boils. Then turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes (this is the final proof).
9. Re-start the heat and steam the buns for 10 minutes, beginning the timer from when the water begins to boil.
10. When the timer is up, take the steamer off the heat and let them cool down before opening. If you open the steamer too quickly, the buns will shrink and be ruined!
11. Once they are cool, you can transfer them into a Tupperware and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to use them! Simply heat them up by placing them for 1-2 minutes in your steamer.
To make the Sticky Pulled Mushrooms:
1. Heat up a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil on high heat. Add some of the mushrooms, but don’t overfill the pan – cook in 2 or 3 batches if you need to.
2. Cook the mushrooms until they are nice and caramelized. A big pinch of salt will draw out the moisture which will make the mushrooms extra meaty.
3. Add the ingredients for the sauce to a bowl and mix with a whisk. Add the sauce to the frying pan with all the cooked oyster mushrooms. After a few minutes, the sauce should be nice and thick, and pulled mushrooms are ready to eat (or add to your bao buns!)
To make the Salsa Macha:
1. On medium heat, heat up frying pan with 8 tbsp oil. When the oil is warm, add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until light brown.
2. Add the chili flakes, spices, salt and cook for another 2 minutes.
3. Transfer the mix from the frying pan into a food processor. Add the roasted peanuts and pulse the blender to break the peanuts into smaller pieces.
4. Add the brown sugar and the 4 tbsp of toasted sesame oil and process again for around 10 seconds. Make sure not to process for too long, as you want to make sure you still have some peanut pieces intact.
5. Store in a container and use on on your bao buns, and everything!
Heat up your bao buns in a steamer. Fill the buns with the pulled mushrooms and top with vegan mayo and salsa
macha (or sriracha!)
Optional: Add in some additional toppings, like pickled vegetables (picked onions, pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut are all great options).