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Servings: 10 Bao
For the Bao Buns:
- 3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup warm water
- Canola oil
For pickled cucumber
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cucumber, halved, deseeded, and thinly sliced
For mushroom filling:
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 pounds oyster and shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Handful of salted peanuts, ground and finely chopped
- Start by making the dough. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then add water little by little and bring dough together using your hands; you should have a sticky ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes, until smooth and bouncy, then place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place to double in size for 1 to 1½ hours.
- Meanwhile, put vinegar for pickled cucumber into a small saucepan with 3 Tbsp water. Bring to a simmer, then pour into a bowl, add cucumber, and leave to cool.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface, knead for 1 minute to knock out air, then divide into 10 equal pieces. Take one piece, flatten into a ½-inch-thick disc, then brush one half with a little oil. Fold bun into a half-moon and place on a small square of parchment paper on a tray. Repeat with remaining dough, then loosely cover tray with a kitchen towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes more.
- For filling, in a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, garlic and sesame oil. Heat canola oil in a frying pan on high, then fry mushrooms 6 minutes, until soft and browning at the edges. Stir in sauce to coat, then turn heat to medium and cook, stirring regularly, 5 minutes, until sauce reduces and darkens.
- To cook the bao, set a steamer over a pan of simmering water. Put the bao, still on their parchment-paper mats, into the steamer in batches, making sure they don’t touch. Cover and steam 8 minutes.
- Once done, fill each bao with a generous tablespoon of mushrooms, 3 or 4 slices of cucumber and, for a little crunch, some peanuts.
Excerpted from East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing © 2019 by Meera Sodha. Published by Flatiron Books.
Calories: 477kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 16g | Sodium: 1768mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g
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