Bao buns make a fantastic dinner, and are lots of fun to make. I usually have to make a double batch of these babies, as my kids gobble them up faster than I can make them. If you don’t have Soy Curls on hand, you can substitute chopped seitan or use extra vegetables in the filling. Just make sure to adjust seasonings accordingly.
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp organic sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons warm water, about
2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
4 ounces (half of an 8-ounce bag Soy Curls), broken into smaller pieces
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions or green onions
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp vegetarian stir fry sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger, packed
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Dough: In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt, mixing well. Add oil and water, mixing until incorporated. Swap out the paddle for the dough hook on the mixer, and beat/knead dough for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If dough is too dry, add another tablespoon of water, or as needed to get a silky dough.
Transfer dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Filling: While dough is rising, prepare the filling. Rinse and drain the sliced cabbage. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage (with whatever water is till clinging to it), and cook until soft and wilted, stirring often. Transfer cooked cabbage to a large bowl.
While cabbage is cooking, place Soy Curls in a medium bowl and cover with very hot water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Let sit for 10 minutes. Place Soy Curls in a colander in the sink, pressing down on them to release any extra water. Add Soy Curls to the cooked cabbage, mixing well. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until mixed. Taste mixture, and adjust seasonings to taste.
Place dough on a clean, lightly floured surface and knead in the baking powder. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
Divide dough into 12 pieces, rolling them into balls. Roll each ball of dough into a circle. Place about 1/4 cup filling onto center of circle. Bring sides up to cover filling and meet on top, pinching the ends closed and gently twisting. Place on square of lightly oiled parchment paper, seam or twist side down. Repeat with remaining dough.
Place buns in a steamer, 1-inch apart. Cover steamer with a lid. Add water to steamer or skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Position steamer racks over simmering water, reduce heat slightly, and steam for 15 minutes or until puffed. Carefully remove buns fro steamer and serve.
Tip: Alternately, prepare dough in a bread machine on the dough setting or in a food processor.