Ironically... After a night of sumptuous feasting, our family including most Buddhist Chinese will observe a vegetarian diet on the first day of Chinese New Year. Why? For all these years, I can't understand this rationale after noticing the drastic contrasts of the before and after Chinese New Year eve feasting! Maybe people are feeling guilty or sinful after digging in excessive food eaten on Chinese New Year eve and need to obtain good karma for the New Year. Hmmm...
These Chinese bok choy and mushroom vegetarian streamed buns are always our all time favourite. I know that my husband and son will love these regardless of all occasions... on the first day of Chinese New Year or even Chinese New Year eve!
We are loving these not because we are guilty of having too much good food before Chinese New Year... We are loving these because these vegetarian steamed buns "got standard"!!! LOL!
|Vegetarian Chinese Steamed Buns with Bok Choy and Mushrooms 蔬菜包|
These vegetarian buns got standard? Please pardon my husband's Singlish way of praising these buns.
"Hmm... Hmm... Hmm..." said my son as he was enjoying four buns at a go.
"Got standard! Got standard!" said my husband as he was nom nom nom noming through these buns.
"You know these vegetarian buns are vegan too!" I just wanted to kick start a conversation about these buns.
Then, it was quiet with my son's hmm... hmm... hmm.. and my husband's nom nom nom in the background.
"These vegetable buns are vegan, you know..." I was like hey hey... asking for a response or an assurance as I can't believe that my meat-loving husband and son are loving these vegetable buns.
"I don't care." replied my husband. "All I know that these buns got standards!"
Can you imagine this is the way we enjoyed these buns? LOL!
Now, do you want to make these "got standard" vegetable buns?
|The fillings are very simple as it contains mainly bok choy and fresh shiitake mushrooms.|
|This step is essential as it makes the filling less wet and soggy.|
|Then I added these...|
|... and these into the vegetables|
|Stir to combine and set aside.|
|To ensure the buns are white and fluffy, I always like to use Hong Kong flour to make the bao dough.|
If you can't find this in the area that you live, you can use any bleached finely milled cake flour.
|After kneading and proving the dough, I divided it into 20 portions.|
|Flatten each portion of dough and place 1-2 tbsp of filling in its middle.|
|I have wrapped the filling inside the dough with these two different kinds of pleat.|
|Just 15-20 mins of steaming and the buns will be ready!|
|My son was excited when he saw these!|
|He is very happy too enjoying these!|
My husband too!
Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from here
For the buns:
Makes 20 medium buns
For the buns:
500g Hong Kong flour or any low protein (7-9%) bleached flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder, preferably double acting baking powder
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup (50g) caster sugar
265ml (1 cup + 1 tbsp) water
25ml vegetable oil, preferably something light like canola oil
For the filling:
400g bok choy, (about 3 medium), washed and finely chopped, plus 1/4 tsp salt
7-8 (100g) fresh shiitake mushroom, washed, thoroughly drained and finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt or the amount according to your taste
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
a dash of finely ground white pepper
For the buns:
Place water, oil, sugar, flour, baking powder and yeast according to this order into a breadmaker and use dough setting to knead and prove the dough for 1 hr.
If breadmaker is not available, kneading by hand is possible. Combine flour, baking powder, yeast, sugar in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture, add water and oil mix to form a dough. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead to form an elastic and smooth dough (at least 20 mins) and then let it rise for 1 hr.
To prepare the filling:
Combine the finely chopped bok choy with 1/4 tsp salt. Allow mixture to sit for about 15 mins at room temperature. Divide bok choy into 3-4 batches. Place each batch in the middle of a large muslin cloth and squeeze out its water content. You can either use the pok choy water to make green buns or discard it if you like your buns to be traditionally white. Repeat the same with the remaining portions of the bok choy. Mix the rest of the filling ingredients into the squeezed bok choy until combined. Set aside.
When the dough is ready, divide into 20 portions. Flatten each dough pieces with your hands or roll it slightly with a rolling pin. Wrap 1-2 tbsp of filling inside each rolled dough as shown in the video at here and here (method 4). Repeat the rolling and wrapping steps with the rest of the dough and filling. Place each bun on each paper cup liner or a small piece of baking paper with its seam sides down. Rest the bun in warm mist for 30 mins or until the dough look puffy.
While waiting, if you are using the stove for steaming, set water to boil for the steaming later. Steam bun with medium heat for about 15-20 mins until done. The steam timing varies if you have multiple layers of baos to steam. The layer that is closest to the direct steam will take 15 mins to cook. When ready remove the buns immediately from the steamer and serve warm.
Leftovers can be kept in fridge or freezer with cling wrap and cover. To freeze, allow buns to cool completely at room temperature. Wrap each bun in each small freezing bag and place them in the freezer. To consume, no thawing of frozen buns is required. Just re-steam the kept buns until hot before serve.
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