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Recipe: Vegan-Friendly Char Siew Bao – BBQ Pork Steamed Buns

I would be quite a picky eater if you asked my mother. I didn’t have to cook when I lived in Singapore because my mother did the cooking and food is just too readily available! More importantly, it’s way too hot and humid to hover around the hot stove in Singapore’s climate. Things had changed when I moved abroad to live independently, and the food is expensive and not as easily accessible since I don’t drive. Solution? I started cooking!

The boy adopts a vegan diet, and I want to let him try all the different Asian and South East Asian delicacies, and the only effective way is to veganized the recipes that originally used meat or dairy products. Being an astute picky eater with sensory sensitivity to tastes and smells then come to good use. I am quite capable of duplicating the flavor and texture as closely as my memory serves.

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I made the buns small because we only have small steaming baskets, and my personal preference is using the steaming basket that comes with the rice cooker (see “gallery” for photo reference). If you make bigger buns, you may get approximately 28 buns; my small buns are about three bites size, and I get 56 buns from this recipe.

 

 

 

AuthorThe MissyCategory

 

Makes 56 small buns

Ingredients For Dough (Machine Knead)
 1 ½ cups warm water
 2 tbsp raw sugar
 2 tsp active instant yeast
 2 tbsp vegetable oil (olive oil, canola oil etc.)
 4 cups all purpose flour
 4 tbsp cornstarch
 ¼ tsp baking soda
 ½ tsp salt
Ingredients For Dough (Knead By Hand - To make 2 batches to use up the filling)
 ¾ cup warm water
 1 tbsp raw sugar
 1 tsp active instant yeast
 1 tbsp vegetable oil (olive oil, canola oil etc.)
 2 cups all purpose flour
 2 tbsp cornstarch
  tsp baking soda
 ½ tsp salt
Ingredients For Filling
 340 g vegetarian BBQ pork (diced)
 340 g spiced tofu (diced)
 1 small onion (diced)
 1 bunch coriander (cilantro) leaves (finely chopped)
 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
 1 tbsp light soy sauce
 1 tsp sesame oil
 1 tsp sugar
 ½ tbsp vegetable oil (for stir-frying)
 2 drops food coloring in red (optional)
 ½ tbsp cornstarch (thickener)
 ¾ cup water (thickener)
Tools And Equipments
 Kitchenaid stand mixer with kneading hook (if using machine to knead)
 Mixing bowl
 Dough cutter
 Cookie sheet (cut into 5cm x 5cm squares)
 Bamboo steamer, pot, and wried net, OR
 Rice cooker with steaming feature

MAKING THE DOUGH

*If kneading by hand, it's advisable to make the dough in 2 batches, it's very tedious and laborious to knead a big batch. Refer to "Knead By Hand" ingredient list - each batch yields 28 buns.

1. Proofing - add warm water, sugar, active yeast in a bowl and mix well until yeast is dissolved. Leave the mixture to sit until yeast foams in about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and set aside.
3. Flour - mix all purpose flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl (or Kitchenaid mixing bowl, if using the machine to knead).
4. With a spatula, mix the yeast mixture with the flour mixture.
5A. Kitchenaid mixer with kneading hook - put on the kneading hook and use setting “2” to knead for 15 minutes.
5B. Knead by hand - knead for 15 minutes, or until dough becomes soft and smooth.
6. Coat kneaded dough with 1 tsp of vegetable oil, cover with damp cloth and set aside for 2 hours or when the dough doubles in size.
7. Check to see if the dough has risen to double the original size.
8. Punch it down with your fist, and either to use the machine to knead for another 2 minutes or by hand.

*Instruction of dough adapted from "The Woks of Life".

VEGAN BBQ PORK FILLING

1. Medium heat - heat vegetable oil (non-stick) pan, sauté onion for 2 minutes, until partially translucent.
2. Add the *rest of the ingredients and stir-fry for a minute.
(*Avoid adding the soy sauce all at once, especially if your mock pork is already seasoned with salt/sauce.)
3. Thickener - mix water and cornstarch in a separate bowl and add to ingredients in the pan and mix well. Simmer until mixture thickens.
4. Turn off heat, and stir in chopped coriander leaves.
5. Transfer cooked ingredients to plate and allow to cool before wrapping in dough.

*Instruction of filling is veganized and adapted from "Rasa Malaysia".

WRAPPING THE BUNS AND STEAMING

1. Divide the doughs into 56 portions using the tablespoon measuring spoon as mold.
2. Cover the divided doughs with a damp cloth to prevent drying.
3. Roll out the dough, with center portion being thicker.
5. Place flattened dough in your palm.
6. Scoop filling to place in the middle of the dough.
5. “Cup” your palm and pinch the top part of the dough to close the opening.
6. Place bun on cookie paper square.
7. Let bun sit for 20 minutes before steaming.

Steaming

1A. Bamboo steamer - place buns (with the cookie paper square) in the steamer basket. Add 1 cup of water into pot, place wire gauze on pot, place steamer baskets on gauze. Turn on the heat and let boil, once the water boils, lower heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, let buns sit in covered baskets for another 5 minutes.
1B. Rice cooker with the steam feature - fill rice cooker with 2 cups (measuring cup that comes with the cooker) of water, place rice cooker steam basket in the cooker, and place buns on the basket. Use “steam” setting and steam for 15 minutes.

* Steam buns in batches.
* It is said that adding white vinegar to the water for steaming makes the buns whiter.
* Add 1 cup of cold tap water to pot/rice cooker before steaming every new batch.
* Freeze steamed buns, if desired.

Gallery

Ingredients

Ingredients For Dough (Machine Knead)
 1 ½ cups warm water
 2 tbsp raw sugar
 2 tsp active instant yeast
 2 tbsp vegetable oil (olive oil, canola oil etc.)
 4 cups all purpose flour
 4 tbsp cornstarch
 ¼ tsp baking soda
 ½ tsp salt
Ingredients For Dough (Knead By Hand - To make 2 batches to use up the filling)
 ¾ cup warm water
 1 tbsp raw sugar
 1 tsp active instant yeast
 1 tbsp vegetable oil (olive oil, canola oil etc.)
 2 cups all purpose flour
 2 tbsp cornstarch
  tsp baking soda
 ½ tsp salt
Ingredients For Filling
 340 g vegetarian BBQ pork (diced)
 340 g spiced tofu (diced)
 1 small onion (diced)
 1 bunch coriander (cilantro) leaves (finely chopped)
 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
 1 tbsp light soy sauce
 1 tsp sesame oil
 1 tsp sugar
 ½ tbsp vegetable oil (for stir-frying)
 2 drops food coloring in red (optional)
 ½ tbsp cornstarch (thickener)
 ¾ cup water (thickener)
Tools And Equipments
 Kitchenaid stand mixer with kneading hook (if using machine to knead)
 Mixing bowl
 Dough cutter
 Cookie sheet (cut into 5cm x 5cm squares)
 Bamboo steamer, pot, and wried net, OR
 Rice cooker with steaming feature

Directions

MAKING THE DOUGH
1

*If kneading by hand, it's advisable to make the dough in 2 batches, it's very tedious and laborious to knead a big batch. Refer to "Knead By Hand" ingredient list - each batch yields 28 buns.

1. Proofing - add warm water, sugar, active yeast in a bowl and mix well until yeast is dissolved. Leave the mixture to sit until yeast foams in about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and set aside.
3. Flour - mix all purpose flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl (or Kitchenaid mixing bowl, if using the machine to knead).
4. With a spatula, mix the yeast mixture with the flour mixture.
5A. Kitchenaid mixer with kneading hook - put on the kneading hook and use setting “2” to knead for 15 minutes.
5B. Knead by hand - knead for 15 minutes, or until dough becomes soft and smooth.
6. Coat kneaded dough with 1 tsp of vegetable oil, cover with damp cloth and set aside for 2 hours or when the dough doubles in size.
7. Check to see if the dough has risen to double the original size.
8. Punch it down with your fist, and either to use the machine to knead for another 2 minutes or by hand.

*Instruction of dough adapted from "The Woks of Life".

VEGAN BBQ PORK FILLING
2

1. Medium heat - heat vegetable oil (non-stick) pan, sauté onion for 2 minutes, until partially translucent.
2. Add the *rest of the ingredients and stir-fry for a minute.
(*Avoid adding the soy sauce all at once, especially if your mock pork is already seasoned with salt/sauce.)
3. Thickener - mix water and cornstarch in a separate bowl and add to ingredients in the pan and mix well. Simmer until mixture thickens.
4. Turn off heat, and stir in chopped coriander leaves.
5. Transfer cooked ingredients to plate and allow to cool before wrapping in dough.

*Instruction of filling is veganized and adapted from "Rasa Malaysia".

WRAPPING THE BUNS AND STEAMING
3

1. Divide the doughs into 56 portions using the tablespoon measuring spoon as mold.
2. Cover the divided doughs with a damp cloth to prevent drying.
3. Roll out the dough, with center portion being thicker.
5. Place flattened dough in your palm.
6. Scoop filling to place in the middle of the dough.
5. “Cup” your palm and pinch the top part of the dough to close the opening.
6. Place bun on cookie paper square.
7. Let bun sit for 20 minutes before steaming.

Steaming

1A. Bamboo steamer - place buns (with the cookie paper square) in the steamer basket. Add 1 cup of water into pot, place wire gauze on pot, place steamer baskets on gauze. Turn on the heat and let boil, once the water boils, lower heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, let buns sit in covered baskets for another 5 minutes.
1B. Rice cooker with the steam feature - fill rice cooker with 2 cups (measuring cup that comes with the cooker) of water, place rice cooker steam basket in the cooker, and place buns on the basket. Use “steam” setting and steam for 15 minutes.

* Steam buns in batches.
* It is said that adding white vinegar to the water for steaming makes the buns whiter.
* Add 1 cup of cold tap water to pot/rice cooker before steaming every new batch.
* Freeze steamed buns, if desired.

Vegan-Friendly Char Siew Bao – BBQ Pork Steamed Buns

2 comments for “Recipe: Vegan-Friendly Char Siew Bao – BBQ Pork Steamed Buns

  1. March 4, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I bet these are better than the original 😋

    • March 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      They are! I hope the boy has been enjoying the buns. 😉

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