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Cha Siu Bao

These soft, round, and slightly sweet white rolls have quite the spicy kick, but since it comes wrapped in mouth-rescuing dough, you should survive.

Serves: 12

Makes 12 buns

For the bun:

  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (quick-rise or conventional)
  • 6-1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups faux pork or seitan, cut into small pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup hot chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegan sour cream

What you do:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve cane sugar in warm water. Mix gently and add yeast. Allow mixture to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. In a larger bowl, knead together the flour and margarine until mixture resembles small beads. Add yeast mixture and mix gently with a spoon. On a floured cutting board, knead dough until it is smooth and pliable. Form into a ball and place back into a larger bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about two hours.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil. Add seitan, salt, and pepper, and pan-fry for about 3 minutes on each side. In a medium bowl, mix hoisin sauce, chili sauce, and vegan sour cream. Add fried seitan and set aside.
  4. On a cutting board sprinkled with baking powder, divide dough into 12 flat rounds. In the center of each round, add a heaping tablespoon of the seitan mixture. Pull the sides of the rounds up to completely encase the seitan mixture, and twist the dough to seal. 5. Fill a large saucepan 1/4 of the way with water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. In a metal colander over the pot, or bamboo steamer lined with wax paper, steam buns for about 15 minutes.

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