It has been years since I had a chai bao/ vegie bun in Singapore. After having too much meat, I crave for a bun that is more plain and meatless. This is my first attempt to make vegie buns and I am quite satisfied with the results.
Below is the recipe for the bun dough from my link https://fromthekitchenofeloise.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/steam-buns/
I used a bun premix that I got from the Asian store and followed the directions on it. I have relied on this brand of bun flour as I have had more success with it than my very first attempt at making buns from scratch from a recipe found randomly online years ago.
Ingredients for the dough:
2 packets of Bột Bánh Bao flour (1 packet of flour makes 12 buns, so this portion will make 24 buns)
2 cups of Milk
1 cup of Sugar
2 tablespoons of Oil
24 White Paper Cupcake Cups
Mix everything well in a strong mixer like Kitchen Aid mixer with the appropriate attachment. Use the mixer to knead the dough for 10 minutes and cover the mixer bowl with a damp cloth for 15 minutes. Then knead for another 5 minutes and cover with damp cloth again until you are ready to make the buns.
Ingredients for bun fillings:
1/2 a Cabbage, cut into strips as thin as you can go
2 big Carrots or 3 small ones, shredded
8 Shitake Mushrooms, cut into very thin strips then cut the cross sections into very small pieces (Soak in boiling water prior to cutting for 15 minutes, keep the water for soaking the mushrooms)
1 Garlic, peeled and chopped finely
2 tablespoons of Kikkoman Light Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon of Oyster Sauce
1 teaspoon of Ground White Pepper
1 teaspoon of Black Pepper
In a frying pan, heat up about 2 tablespoons of oil, add the shitake mushrooms and fry until they are fragrant but not crispy. Dish them up and set aside.
Add oil and garlic to the frying pan. Before the garlic starts to change color add in the vegetables. Add the water from soaking the shitake mushrooms and more water if needed to stew the vegetables. Add the seasoning. Cover the pan for a few minutes then open the lid and stir fry the vegetables until soft. Then add the shitake mushrooms last. Mix everything well and turn off the heat. Use a colander to drain and press out excess liquid from the filling. Keep the liquid for making soup later if you like. Place the filling in the fridge overnight to make sure it has cooled down completely before you make the buns the next day.
How to wrap the buns:
Divide the dough into 24 equal portions, cutting the dough with a knife. Roll each portion into a ball and roll each ball out with a small rolling pin so that the middle of the dough skin is thicker than the edges of the dough skin. Put a dollop of filling on the dough skin on the table and carefully pull and fold the edges. Gather the folds and pinch them tightly together in the middle and keep twisting around tightly until you have no more dough left to twist. Place each uncooked bun in paper cupcake cups. It does take practice to make a perfect bun that doesn’t come apart when you steam it.
If you are worried that they will come apart during steaming, invert the pinched side of the bun onto a paper cupcake cup and do the same for the rest of the buns. The buns are less likely to come apart in the steaming if the pinched side of the bun is facing down in the cupcake cup.
When all the buns are sealed, steam them in a steaming pot for 20 minutes and move to a plate with a pair of tongs. Allow enough spacing between the buns for expansion.
The buns will look slightly yellowish. If you prefer whiter buns, add some distilled white vinegar to the water for steaming before steaming each batch of bun. Note that buns steamed with vinegar water will smell slightly sourish initially when they are done. I have omitted vinegar in recent buns I made as I didn’t mind the buns being a little yellowish. They still taste the same anyway.
Copyright 2013 From the Kitchen of Eloise