Bao-Zi (Chinese Steamed Buns)

The first time I saw these steamed fluffy white balls several years ago in Hong Kong I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now Bao-Zi is a family favourite as a popular lunch box option and afternoon tea with sweet bean and, savoury fillings made of tofu and vegetables. Once made, these can be frozen up to a month and steamed in the microwave for a quick fix. A quick recipe for savoury ones follows below,

For the dough we need,

  • Self Raising Flour – 300 grams
  • Instant Active Yeast – 2.5 teaspoons
  • Lukewarm Water – 150 ml
  • Vegetable Oil – 1 tablespoon

For the filling we need,

  • Firm Tofu, crumbled – 100 grams
  • Cabbage, chopped finely – 4 tablespoons
  • Carrot, grated – 4 tablespoons
  • Spring Onions, finely chopped – 3 tablespoons
  • Ginger – Garlic – Chilli paste – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, to taste
  • Vegetable oil – 1 teaspoon

DIRECTIONS:

I make the dough first as it needs to rise for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

For the dough,

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and leave for 5 minutes.
  2. Sift the flour and add to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix the flour with the yeast mixture and oil until a soft and sticky dough is formed (I used my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment).
  4. Cover and set aside. After the dough doubles in size, knead well and make 2″ balls.
  5. Use dry flour to roll out the little balls flat. Keep covered with a damp towel.

For the filling,

  1. Heat oil up and add the ginger -garlic – chilli paste till roasted.
  2. Add the tofu and vegetables. Cook until wilted.
  3. Mix in the salt and add the spring onions lastly before turning off the heat.

The filling should be cooled before stuffing into the dough wrappers.

Finally,

  • Boil water in a large steamer vessel and use a plate lined with baking paper to steam the Bao-Zi.
  • Place approximately 1 big tablespoon of filling in the wrappers and pinch the sides together to seal.
  • Carefully place on the prepared plate and cover to steam for 12 -15 minutes in boiling water.

Serve warm with Tomato Garlic relish!