Baked vegan char siu buns

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This was taken adapted from one of my favourite food blog sites thewoksoflife.com where you can get gorgeous Chinese recipes and more.

The bun dough is lovely and and you could add any filling to it. Now moving on to the recipe.

Char siu bao dough ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water + another 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup bread flour + 2 2/3 cup bread flour

Living in Melbourne…. Everything is not at room temperature except in summer. So what I do is turn on the oven to 30 degrees or so, put my kitchenaid mixing bowl into the oven for 5-10 minutes while I get the ingredients ready.

Now in the mixing bowl add 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tsp yeast and 1/3 cup bread flour. Mix well and leave it to froth, which is the yeast getting activated. This could take about 15 minutes. Now if it doesn’t, it just means the yeast is too old or the water was too hot.

Once you have the frothy mixture, add the melted coconut oil and the other 1/2 cup of warm water .Mix well and now add the rest of the bread flour ( 2 2/3 cups) and the 1/2 cup castor sugar. Turn on your kitchen aid with the dough hook and let it go on speed 2-3 for about 10 minutes. Once you have the dough which will be soft and supple ( feel the dough  it won’t be tight), cover the bowl with cling film and I put it back intoa wwarm oven for an hour or until its doubled in size. While that happens, we can get on with the tofu filling.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 block of firm tofu ( not the fried tofu) – drained, pat dried and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable stock ( tastes better) or water
  • 1-2 tbsp dark soy sauce ( I use ABC Kecap manis)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1. 5 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Hoisin sauce ( I didn’t have this which is why I added more dark soy sauce)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp flour

Get a pan, add a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil, then add the chopped onions. Saute till softened then add the cubed tofu, stir fry gently for 1-2 minutes then add all the sauces and the stock or water. Gently mix well and taste. Add salt and pepper as needed or adjust with the soy sauce to your liking. Once the mixture starts simmering add the flour and mix well without breaking up the tofu. Turn off the stove and let the mixture cool. If I’m in a hurry  after it’s cool down a little I put it into the fridge.

Get your dough which has doubled in size and again into the kitchenaid with the dough hook for another minute to get rid of air bubbles.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius  Now get your board out, dust with flour and take your dough. Roll it out into a log about 30 cm long and divide into 10 equal pieces or even smaller if you want to. Take each ball of dough and roll it out to about 10cm diameter keeping the centre thicker. I love using the rolling pin which tapers towards the ends which helps to thin out the edges when you roll it a certain way. Once you’ve done this, put about 1.5 tbsp of filling and bring the edges together pinching it together, then turn it over so that the pinched edge is on the bottom. Smoothen out the top. Do the same for the rest of the dough balls. Cover with a cling film or moist tea towel and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes. Just before it goes into the oven  melt 1 tbsp sugar in 2 tbsp water and brush the top of the buns and sprinkle with some black sesame seeds.

Lower the oven temperature to 150 degrees Celsius but I keep it at 175 and lower it in the last 10 minutes.  Bake on fan forced oven for 25 minutes. Keep an eye on it after 20 minutes as some ovens are hotter and the buns if smaller tend to cook faster. Sometimes you don’t get the beautiful brown top, so I occasionally turn the oven to grill function at 200 degrees just for 2 minutes. Take the buns out and give it another brush of the dissolved sugar.

And that’s it… It’s done. Just be careful to not dig in immediately as the filling is steaming hot!

Enjoy!

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