So my hubby, Danny, might as well take over the blog because he did it again. I mean, who knew he was such a great home cook? Shanghai style vegetarian steamed buns are spongy with a juicy, flavourful bok choy and mushroom filling inside bursting with all the familiar Asian flavours. Plus, when it's homemade from scratch it means that you are in full control of what is in your food = no MSG.
What are Steamed Buns?
Hot steamed buns is a very popular dish all over China. If you go into any big city market, you will find these buns. Particularly, if you head out in the mornings, you will easily find restaurants with people lined up, waiting to grab a few of these. They are also quite cheap, and people tend to eat 1-2 buns for a meal, usually buying a pair.
In Shanghai, bok choy and mushroom filled steamed buns are the most popular kind, and this Shanghai style steamed bun is well known across China because of it's mild flavour and relatively healthier version. They are also completely vegan!
Ingredients in Vegetarian Steamed Buns
We stuffed these buns with mushrooms and bok choy, but you could easily stuff these buns with any kind of filling that you want. Meat is also quite common.
- dried shiitake mushrooms - you can substitute this with fresh mushrooms, you just don't need to pre-soak them. You may need to pan-fry them a little longer to remove all the water content. Keep an eye on them and cook until browned.
- vegetable oil - for pan-frying the mushrooms
- large bok choy
- seasonings - sesame oil, light soy sauce, granulated sugar, ground white pepper
- steamed bun dough - lukewarm water, instant yeast, all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt
How to Make Shanghai Style Vegetarian Steamed Buns
- Cook the mushrooms. Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in cold water for 15 minutes. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes until fragrant.
- Cook the bok choy. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Dip the bok choy in for 15 seconds and immediately drain and place under running cold water to stop the cooking process. Using your hands, squeeze out the water from the bok choy.
- Prepare the filling. Transfer the bok choy and mushrooms to a food processor. Pulse mix a few times to finely chop the bok choy and mushroom. Do not overmix as you do not want the mixture to turn into a puree. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and drain any excess water. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and white pepper and mix together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate.
- Prepare the steamed bun dough. In a small bowl, whisk together water and yeast until the yeast dissolves. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir with a spatula until mixture forms into a dough. Knead the dough with your hands (or mixer) until the dough becomes smooth and soft, about 15 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough sit at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hrs until it rises and doubles in size. Once risen, knead the dough for a few minutes to get rid of any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 10 even balls.
How to Fold Steamed Buns
- Roll each mini dough ball into a 4-inch circle on a lightly floured surface, adding more flour as needed.
- Scoop a spoonful of filling into the centre of your rolled out dough.
- Bring the edges of the dough up, enclosing the filling inside.
- Seal the filling inside by pleating the edges together with your finger.
- Place each bun on single 3x3-inch sheet of parchment paper. Repeat until all the dough and mixture is used up.
- Place buns on a pan and allow them to sit for another 20 minutes to allow it to further grow in size.
How to Cook Steamed Buns
Cooking steamed buns is super easy. All you need is a steamer. We used a steamer pot over boiling water. Simply place your buns in the pot, cover, and steam for 10 minutes. You then allow the buns to sit in the pot (still covered!) for 5 more minutes. This part is crucial. If you uncover the pot too early, the buns will shrink and collapse!
You can serve these vegetarian steamed buns immediately. Serve them on their own or alongside some soy sauce or black rice vinegar to dip into for extra flavour.
How to Store Steamed Buns
It’s always better to eat these within a few days. You can store steamed buns for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
You can also freeze extras for up to 3 months. To freeze, simply place the steamed buns on a tray lined with parchment paper and freeze for an hour. Then transfer them into large ziploc bags or tupperware and use as desired.
To reheat, re-steam for 5-10 minutes.Print