It’s been a while since I made this and I had a bit of a struggle to find the recipe I’d used. I eventually got there – it’s from Meera Sodha’s ‘East’ – lots of great things in this book but because I already have a shelf full of cookbooks I bought this one on Kindle and I generally forget about the books I have on there. The struggle with bao (the only one), it’s not really a meal in itself. So I paired it up with asparagus and mangetout topped with chilli breadcrumbs. What would you serve with a bao? Since stopping eating meat, pork is probably the meat I miss the most, a large part because of the pulled pork baos that you get. This peanut butter mushroom sauce is a pretty good vegetarian alternative though. I do have a rice cooker which I used to steam the buns but it’s pretty small so I could only fit in two at a time which is something you may want to factor in when making them. This is definitely more of a weekend dinner.
- 375g plain flour
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 225ml water
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp peanut butter
- 8 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp oil
- 600g mushrooms
- 50g peanuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 chilli
- 50g breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 350g asparagus
- 250g mangetout
1.) Make the bao dough. Measure out the water, it should be tepid. Add the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes.
2.) To a large bowl, add the salt, the baking powder, then the flour, and the sugar. Once the yeast is done, add the water to the flour and mix into a dough.
3.) Knead for 5 minutes until the dough is soft. Oil a bowl and put the dough in. Cover and leave to rise for 1.5 hours.
4.) Take out the dough, punch it to knock it back. Divide into 10 pieces. Roll the piece into a ball then flatten into a disc. Brush with oil and fold in half.
5.) Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 more minutes.
6.) For the filling, Wash and slice up the mushrooms. Peel and dice the garlic.
7.) Fry the mushrooms in a pan and whilst these are cooking, mix the soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, garlic and sesame oil in a bowl.
8.) After 6 minutes, add the mixture to the mushrooms and cook until the sauce has thickened.
9.) Start steaming the bao, they need to steam for 8 minutes. I did 10 as it was the lowest time setting on my rice cooker.
10.) Whilst these are going, make up the vegetable side dish.
11.) Peel and dice the garlic and chilli. Bash up the peanuts. Heat up some oil in a frying pan and add the peanuts and chilli. Toast for a minute then add the breadcrumbs. Once they’re brown, Stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
12.) Boil a pan of water and cook the veg for 5 minutes. Plate up the veg, top with the breadcrumb mix. Fill the baos with the mushrooms.