We already introduced to you one of the popular Vietnamese street food, Steamed Pork Bun Recipe (Bánh Bao). This time, we’re making the vegetarian version of the pork bun, Vegetarian Steamed Bun (Bánh Bao Chay). For this vegan recipe, making the dough is the same as the pork bun. The only difference is the filling. We use the Morning Star veggie ground beef that you can find at almost any grocery store, or you can use tofu instead. You will need a steamer. We used a two layer steamer which saved us about 15 minutes of additional steaming.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the "Sauce Ingredients" until smooth. Set aside.
Dice Chinese mushroom. Mince black fungus coarsely. Chop green onion finely.
Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan on medium high heat. Stir fry diced yellow onion until fragrance. Pour in the rest of diced carrot, jicama, Chinese mushroom, and minced fungus. Stir fry for 3 minutes or until all the vegetables are just tender. Then add peas, if using, and pour vegie ground beef. Pour in the sauce and stir fry for 1 minutes. Finally, add green onion and corn starch. Mix up and remove from heat. (Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. ground pepper, if desired.) Set aside.
Making the Dough
Warm milk in microwave for 30 seconds. Add 2 tsp. sugar and stir until dissolved. Then add active dry yeast and stir well. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes or until foamy. (The milk should be warm enough to the touch; so that it will not kill the yeast.)
In a mixing bowl, combine all the remaining "Dough Ingredients". Pour in the yeast and milk mixture. Knead until smooth. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Place in a warm place for 2 hours or until the dough about double in size.
Divide the dough into 10 parts equally.
Take 1 dough and flatten it. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough.
Pull the edge of dough over the filling and fold it into layers. Then twist the top to secure the bun. Place the bun on a muffin liner.
Arrange the buns into a steamer layers.(Remember to leave space so that they will have room to rise.) Cover the top and steam for 15 minutes over medium heat. (Wipe off the lid every 5 minutes so that water does not drip into the buns.)
Wrap any leftover in a plastic wrap. It can be stored for weeks in the fridge. Anytime you want to have it, just simply steam or microwave the buns for few minutes.