|CHINESE STEAMED BUNS WITH BARBECUED SEITAN|
|The proofed buns ready for the steamer (left); after steaming, the mantao are puffed and ready for filling|
Makes 4 large buns
150g pau flour (Water Lily or Hong Kong flour; low-protein flour)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp oil
A drop of alkaline water (air abu), optional
70ml water, approximate
Neutral-flavoured oil (like corn or vegetable), for brushing
Sift flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl. Add instant yeast, sugar, oil and alkaline water. Mix together with a fork or your hand to combine. Gradually add water and continue to mix until the mixture comes together into a firm ball.
Transfer dough to a work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5-8 minutes. Cover dough with a damp tea towel and allow to rise until twice its size. Scale dough into equal pieces of about 55g each and form into balls. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 5 minutes.
With your palm, flatten each piece of dough into a a 9cm disc (it will be about 0.5cm thick). Brush one half of the flattened discs with oil and fold over into a half-moon shape. Place on parchment paper squares and cover with a damp towel. Leave to rise, another 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare a tiered steamer.* Steam the buns over boiling water until puffed, 6-8 minutes. Serve while still soft and warm.
To assemble Vegetarian Char Siu Steamed Buns, gently open a mantao bun so there is a pocket (do not separate the two halves). Spread the inside with hoisin sauce if desired. Fill with slices of vegetarian char siu, pickled carrot and green onion. Enjoy!
* Apparently, if you add a little white vinegar into the water in the base of the steamer, this helps to keep the mantao white. I've tried it but I couldn't see much difference in the colour of the buns when I didn't use vinegar.