Bao Wow #vegan

I told you I don’t always cook like a raccoon raiding the trash.

Sometimes people be like, “Did she really make fresh bao?”

This week … wait for it … I MADE FRESH BAO!!! I made it with a vegan filling, but you can totally use meat. The recipe I saw said to cook half of it and mix it with the raw half before stuffing and steaming. I’d cook it all, me.

My filling was minced mushrooms, celery, onion, garlic, water chestnuts, and flavored with salt and Five Spice Powder.

That red bit is part of the pan. There were no red bits in this mix.

Bao Wrapper

  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1/2 Tb oil
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda

Yeah, I cut this down from a recipe that made 12-14 bao. To do the whole recipe, double everything but the flour: The Tasting Table called for 1 1/4 cups “plus more if needed.” I started out with 1/2 cup plus a bit, and had to add and add and add to make a workable dough.

ANYWAY, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together and add the water, stirring with a fork until you need to get your paws into it. Add flour as needed and work it in until the dough is smooth and not very sticky. Cover it and let it rise for two hours or until doubled.

Squish it down. Poke a hole in the middle and work around the circle until you have a loop with the dough being about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. This method makes sure you don’t have thick bits and skinny ends. Kewl!

Cut the dough into about 6 pieces (or 12-14, if you’re doing the original recipe). Roll each piece into a circle … Well, just watch this.

So here’s my wrapper:

And here are my filled bao in a jury-rigged steamer:

Plenty of room for everybody, right?
Mmmmmaybe not so much.


Alas! My jury-rigged steamer didn’t leave enough room for the heat to circulate, and the tops didn’t get done. But I popped those babies in the toaster oven at 350F for 10 minutes the next day and finished them off. They were delicious!

Next time, I’ll bake ’em to begin with (20 minutes from totally raw to finished). Or buy me a couple of steamer add-ons for my Instant Pot.

I’m posting at Fatal Foodies today about the potato chips I made at home.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about something with pleats.


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Bao Wow #vegan

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 14, 2020 at 1:52pm

      It was so good! Do you have a steamer? I’m going to fix one up with disposable pie plates (which I’ll keep after using).

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  1. acflory

    January 14, 2020 at 3:53pm

    I LOVE steam buns and so does the Offspring but we’ve never been game to make them from scratch! I have the bamboo steamer but I’ve found that with fresh buns I can put them straight onto a metal steamer and they’re fine [no rice paper]. Only keep on rice paper if they’re frozen to start with. Will definitely give this a try once the weather cools a bit.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 15, 2020 at 8:32am

      I don’t have any rice paper, so I used parchment paper. If I put them fresh onto my metal steamer, they’d have bumps on their butts. Can’t have that.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. joey

    January 26, 2020 at 10:36am

    I’m reading out of order, and finally understand your steamer bit.
    I am intrigued. I am surprised at how simple the dough is. I don’t know, I thought it would have hard to find ingredients? I may have to try this. Sassy and I lurve. I have a steamer pot, thank you MIL. After that, maybe I can learn dumplings too. Inspiring, Marian!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 27, 2020 at 9:45am

      Oh, DO try it! So fluffy and belicious! I dream of someday shopping somewhere that carries sweet red bean paste, because that is my very most favorite bao filling!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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