If you love vegan dumplings like potstickers, gyoza, ravioli or baozi, you’ll also love this simple step-by-step recipe for pan-fried steamed veggie Bao buns! These buns are also known as „sheng Jian bao“ and similar to pan-fried pork soup dumplings but I made mine vegan stuffed with healthy leek and more vegetables!
Mix the yeast with the water and sugar in a small bowl and set aside for around 5 minutes.
Whisk together the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Pour in the water with yeast slowly and stir with a chopstick (or wooden spoon) until it clumps together. Transfer to a work surface and knead with your hands (or use a mixer with dough hooks) until a smooth and soft dough forms, about 5 minutes.
Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for about 45 minutes, or until the ball has doubled in size.
Preparing the filling (*see step-by-step photos above)
Heat the oil in a pan and finely chop the vegetables. (Click here for step-by-step instruction on how to prepare leeks easily). Add the leek, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender.
Then add the tofu, soy sauce, salt and chili to taste. Mix well and set aside to cool.
Assembling the buns
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and knead it briefly to remove all air bubbles.
Then roll it into a long log and cut into 10 pieces (or more for smaller buns). Work with one piece at a time and cover the rest with a clean kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.
Flatten one piece of dough with your palm and roll it into a round wrapper with thinner edges, about 4.7-inch (12 cm) in diameter.
Add about 2-3 tablespoons of filling to the center, then fold the bun up and around the filling as shown in the step-by-step photos above, making sure to seal the top. Repeat until all the buns are assembled.
Cooking the buns
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place the buns in the pan with the pinched-side up (make sure to not overcrowd the pan!), and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Once the bottoms are golden-brown and crispy, flip them over and carefully, pour in ¼ cup of water to create steam. Immediately cover the pan, reduce to low heat and allow buns to steam for about 10 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.
Remove from pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions, and serve with the dipping sauce as desired. Enjoy!
Dough: You can also make a traditional dumpling dough without yeast (click here for the recipe). But take a note that the dough won’t be as fluffy and soft.
Tofu: If using mushrooms instead of tofu, I recommend frying the chopped mushrooms in the beginning for 2 minutes before adding the other veggies.
Filling: You can basically use any veggies for the filling as written in the blog post above the recipe card. Just make sure to chop them finely and squeeze any excess liquid as needed to prevent a soggy filling. If you have any leftover filling, you can serve it on the side or use it for other recipes.
Steam/Pan-fry: You can also just steam the buns (without pan-frying). Simply brush some oil on the bottom of each bun, then place them into the steamer and cook for about 12-15 minutes in total.
To freeze the uncooked buns, place them in a single layer on a baking tray or wooden board, leaving some space between each to prevent them from sticking. Freeze for 1-2 hours, then transfer to a freezer bag. You can reheat them by pan-frying in the same way as instructed.
Please read my blog post for further information about this recipe.