Welcome to Char Siu Jackfruit Steamed Bao // Baked Buns: A Picture Journal
One of the only things I’m truly amiss about being vegan is the fact that I’ve never experienced Chinese BBQ Pork. I’m currently waiting for someone in the San Gabriel Valley to make an authentic vegan rendition so I no longer have FOMO! Until that happens, I’ll have to create that charred, salty, & sweet tastebud rush as best I can, using Kim’s fond memories of these tempting buns as my guide.
If you pay astute attention, then you’ll realize that this dish is an adaptation of two previous recipes – Chinese BBQ Jackfruit Spring Rolls and Fluffy Goa Bao – which we’ve tweaked to make more indulgent jackfruit and softer buns. And who doesn’t want softer buns? You’re telling me that’s not the point of squats? Guess I need to reevaluate my work out goals then…
Anyways, this is a pretty dense recipe that involves marinating, kneading, stretching, and steaming (if you’re making bao), so I’ll leave the technicalities for down below, but before we get there, let’s do a quick flavor profile analysis, shall we?
These char siu buns // bao are:
- Soft, pillowy, and lightly chewy
- Salty, sweet, and bursting with savory flavor
- Stringy, saucy, and meaty
- Cantonese inspired
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I Like Baked Buns and I Cannot Lie
Char Siu Jackfruit Steamed Bao // Baked Buns
Soft, pillowy, and lightly chewy dough incases sweet & salty Chinese BBQ jackfruit.
Jackfruit & Marinade
- 2 14-oz cans of jackfruit, drained and shredded
- 1/3 c hoisin sauce
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 2 tbsps hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 360 g (3 c) all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp cane sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 oz unsweetened soy milk
- 3.5 oz water
- 2 tbsp vegetable or melted coconut oil
Optional (for baked buns)
- 1 tsp VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart + 1 tbsp cold water
- Combine jackfruit and all of the marinade ingredients in a casserole dish or cake pan until thoroughly combined, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Heat soy milk, water, and oil in a small pot until warm to the touch (115° F). While that warms up, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of your stand-up mixer.
- Once milk mixture reaches 115° F, add most of it to the dry ingredients and use the dough hook to combine on low speed. Once the dry ingredients are moistened, boost speed to medium-high for a couple minutes.
- If the dough forms into a ball that’s moist to the touch but not sticky, keep on kneading at medium-high for 10 minutes. If the dough is crumbly, add the rest of the wet mixture and knead on low speed until it comes together. If the dough is too sticky, add a touch of flour until it reaches ideal texture .
- After 10 minutes, remove dough from hook, form into a ball, lightly oil the mixer bowl, place dough back in bowl, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes) at room temperature.
- While dough rises, heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Allow to heat up for 4 minutes. Once it’s very hot, add the jackfruit and its marinade. Cook, without stirring, for 4 minutes. Then move the jackfruit around and let it sit for another 4 minutes. Repeat this one or two more times until the jackfruit is heavily caramelized.
- Turn off the heat, stir in Sauce ingredients, and transfer to a plate to cool.
- Once dough’s risen, gently press out the air and roll it into a log on a clean countertop. Use a knife to cut off 45 gram sections of dough (should create about 13 pieces). Flatten each piece of dough into a thin round about 1/4 inch thick.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of cooled jackfruit mixture in the center of a dough round then pull the sides up & around the jackfruit. Now crimp the dough together at the top to seal the bun and roll it around in your hand to smooth the seal. Repeat for remaining buns.
- Place buns on parchment lined cookie sheets, cover with a clean towel, and allow to rise again for 45 minutes at room temperature.
- This is where you get to decide if you want to make steamed bao, baked buns, or both. If making buns, pre-heat oven to 400° F. If making bao, you’re going to need a two-tiered steamer (we prefer bamboo).
- For buns: whisk together VeganEgg with water in a small bowl until smooth. Brush a light layer of this mixture on top of every bun then bake until they’re golden brown; 17-20 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.
- For bao: bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a pot slightly smaller or the same size as your steamer. While water heats up, cut a little parchment square for each bao to sit on top of. Evenly distribute bao throughout steamer, place on the lid, set atop pot, reduce heat to medium-high, and steam for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the bao sit in the steamer for another 10 minutes.
- Enjoy buns & bao while fresh, store at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or keep in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat bao in steamer until heated through (~5 minutes) and reheat buns wrapped in aluminum foil in a 400° F oven for about 7 minutes.