These steamed bao buns might seem time consuming, but the actual hands on time is minimal. The filling options are endless and they even freeze well.

Bao buns

  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 325g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon easy bake yeast
  • 50ml oat or rice ‘milk’
  • 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 200ml water

Method

Bao Buns

Combine the dried ingredients in a bowl
Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl and pour into the dried
Bring together (adding a splash more water if the mixture is too dry) and turn out on the work surface
Knead for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is smooth and elastic
Leave in an oiled bowl to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size
Split into 16 balls
Roll each ball on an oiled surface into an elongated oval shape (1/2cm thick)
Oil the rolled out dough and fold in the middle to create a bun
Leave to rise covered with oiled cling film for another 90 minutes
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, chilli or seaweed (optional)
Steam in a steaming basket over a pan of simmering water for 8 minutes
Leave to cool, separate the halves and fill

<h2>Fillings</h2>
<b>‘Buttered’ celeriac with cumin beetroot </b>

For the pickled beetroot: Thinly slice 2 small cooked beetroots. Heat 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds in a pan, add the sliced beetroot and take off the heat. Leave in the liquor for at least 20 minutes.
For the celeriac, simply peel and cut a small celeriac into rectangles roughly the same size as the buns.
Melt a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a frying pan, season the celeriac with salt and fry on a medium heat until golden all over and cooked.
Stuff the bun with the beetroot, cleric and decorate with a sprig of dill.

<b>Tempeh, smashed avocado and a quick pickle </b>

For the tempeh:
150g plain tempeh, sliced
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
4 tablespoons of wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon of tikka masala powder

Marinate the tempeh in the soy sauce for 20 minutes
Combine the flour and tikka masala powder in a bowl
Dip the tempeh slices in the flour and fry gently until crispy
For the avocado – using a fork, smash the flesh of 2 avocados, season with salt, lime juice and chilli powder to taste.
For the quick pickle – cut vegetables (such as kohlrabi and carrot) into matchsticks and combine with a tablespoon of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of oil and a pinch of salt. Leave to pickle for 20 minutes.

<b>Cauliflower pakora with mango chutney </b>

Pakora:
Small cauliflower, cut into florets
The batter:
150g corn flour
150g plain flour
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
Large pinch of ground chilli
1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

Enough cold sparkling liquid (water, beer, champagne)
Combine the dried batter ingredients in a bowl and add enough liquid to achieve a single cream consistency, whisking constantly to avoid lumps
Dip the cauliflower in the batter and deep fry at 190C for 3-5 minutes until golden
Lift out with a slotted spoon, spread on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt

Mango chutney:
1 mango, cubed
Large pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1/2 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

Fry the shallot in a little oil with a pinch of salt until golden
Add the spices and cook for 1 minute
Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until soft
Leave to cool