vegan bao buns with pulled jackfruit

Vegan bao buns are to die for and easy to make. They are filled with succulent jackfruit in a salty-sweet marinade, crunchy veggies, peanuts and herbs.

vegan bao buns with pulled jackfruit

INGREDIENTS
BUNS (can be made 1 day ahead)
  1. 300 g / 2½ cups bao flour OR all purpose flour
  2. 2 tsp instant active yeast
  3. 1½ tbsp / 20 ml vegetable oil
  4. 1 tsp fine sea salt
  5. 2 tsp sugar (optional)

FILLING
  1. 560 g / 20 oz tin of green / young jackfruit (this is the brand I used)
  2. 2 small spring onions, sliced
  3. 4 tsp grated ginger
  4. 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  5. 3-4 tsp tamari / soy sauce, adjust to taste
  6. 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  7. 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (plus extra to serve)
  8. 2 tsp brown sugar or maple syrup
  9. 2 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying (I used peanut oil)
  10. 1 heaped tsp Chinese five spice

OTHER CONDIMENTS
  1. sliced fresh chilli or chilli sauce
  2. ½ English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  3. ½ daikon or 1 turnip, cut into matchsticks
  4. red cabbage, shredded finely
  5. roasted (unsalted) peanuts, crushed or chopped
  6. spring onion, sliced finely
  7. fresh coriander

METHOD
BUNS
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt. Add about 120 ml / ½ cup of warm (that’s important) water and 1½ tbsp of oil. Once combined roughly with a wooden spoon, start combining the dough with your hands. It will need a bit more water but it is very important to add the water in gradually, tablespoon by tablespoon. In my experience it takes another 2-3 tablespoons of water to achieve a dough that is not too dry or not too sticky. Knead it for 10 minutes with your hands until elastic and smooth. Form the dough into a ball and rub a small amount of oil on the dough’s surface to prevent drying. Place in a clean bowl covered with a kitchen towel and place it somewhere warm (but not too warm, sticking it too close to a fireplace is a bad idea, for example) for 1-2 hrs or until it doubles in size.
  • Cut two circles (if you have a two tier bamboo steamer) of baking paper to line the steamer with. Make a lot of small holes in the circles so that the steam can get through. You can use a paper puncher for this or fold each circle in half 3 times and cut small circles out along the folded edges with a pair of scissors. Prepare also eight 5 cm / 2″ squares of baking paper and insert into the buns to prevent the two halves from sticking to each other (you could also use oil instead).
  • After the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and press the air our with your fingertips. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and form small balls. Place the balls on a lightly floured surface, cover with a kitchen towel and leave for another 30 min.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the balls out into ½ cm / ¼” thick oval shapes. Fold each shape in half and insert a square of baking paper between the two halves. Alternatively you could also oil the buns before folding in half.
  • Line your bamboo steamer with paper circles you’ve made earlier and place folded up buns inside for another 30 min of proving. If your steamer is too small (like mine), place four buns inside (two on each tier) and rest the remaining four on a baking paper lined and lightly dusted tray until you are ready to steam.
  • Half fill a pot (which the steamer can comfortably sit on, of course) with water and place the steamer with the buns on top. Whack the heat to medium-high (I used setting 4 out of 6) and let the water come to a simmer – don’t be tempted to peak inside or you will ruin the buns. Once you can hear the water simmering vigorously, put the timer on to 10 mins. After the time is up, take the pot and steamer off the heat and rest the buns for another 5 minutes. This will spare the buns temperature shock 😉 and will prevent them from shrinking. After 5 minutes, lift the lid off and remove the buns gently. Cook the remaining four like you did the first four.