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Recipe: Vegetable Baozi Steamed Chinese Buns

Add some oriental flavour to your New Year with these delicious Chinese stuffed dumplings from the Vegetarian Cookery School, Demuths.

Baozi are a popular type of Chinese stuffed dumpling made from a yeasted wheat flour dough and then steamed in a bamboo steamer. They are usually found on dim sum menus. This is Lydias family recipe and she will be teaching how to make these stuffed dumplings on her Chinese New Year Cookery Course.
Makes: approx 20 small buns
Dietary: Vegan
Dough Ingredients
450g strong white flour
1 tbsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
275ml lukewarm water
Filling Ingredients
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 spring onions, chopped finely
5 cm piece of ginger, minced finely
2-3 cloves garlic, minced finely
200 g chopped mixed vegetables- For example: Chinese leaf or green cabbage shredded finely, grated carrot, mushrooms, fresh or rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, black fungus, water chestnuts
50 g rehydrated dried tofu skin, shredded and chopped finely
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp shoyu
1 tbsp Kecap Manis
2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing or rice wine 
1 tsp sesame oil
To make the dough:
Whisk the sugar and dried yeast into the water and leave to stand until frothy.
Put the flour into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, and add the yeast liquid, stirring till combined.  
Knead by hand for roughly 10 minutes, or mix in the machine till the rough feels smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and leave to rest for an hour till doubled in size.
To make the filling:
Finely chop the spring onions, garlic and ginger either by hand or in a mini electric chopper or hand blender (see Tips below).
Prepare all the vegetables. 
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, and stir fry the spring onions, garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables and sesame seeds, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tofu skin, shoyu, Kecap Manis, rice wine and sesame oil. Taste and check the seasoning, adding more shoyu if required. It is important to season the mixture really well, as Baozi fillings tend to be strongly flavoured.
To make the buns:
Lightly flour your work top and knead the dough again. It should feel soft, smooth and elastic. Roll into a long sausage shape, and cut into pieces roughly the size of a golf ball. Take a piece of dough, and flatten slightly in the palm of your hand into a small pancake.
Put a heaped teaspoon of filling into the centre, and gather the edges of the dough to the centre, pleating and pinching them together at the top with a little twist. This creates a classic characteristic pattern and shape of the bun.
Heat a pan of water, and line a few bamboo steamers with non stick parchment. Place the Baozi in the steamer allowing space in between each for expansion.steam on high heat for 10 minutes. Serve hot with a dipping sauce. Plum Sauce, Shoyu and Chilli Dipping Sauce or a sweet chilli sauce would all go well with the Baozi.
Tips: The cooked steamed buns can be frozen and re-steamed from frozen for 15-18 minutes. Pierce with a metal skewer for 10 seconds and check the heat of the tip of the skewer to test they are hot in the centre of the bun before serving.
Shoyu Dipping Sauce
4 tbsps water or fresh coconut juice
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp palm sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsps shoyu
Boil the water or fresh coconut juice with the vinegar and sugar to dissolve the sugar and leave to cool.
Mix the lime juice, chilli and garlic together and stir in the shoyu. Leave to sit for the flavours to infuse together.
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