Jackfruit bao buns (Nassima Rothacker/PA)
25 January 2023

Annie Rigg’s jackfruit bao buns

25 January 2023

“Who doesn’t love soft, slightly chewy, pillowy bao buns?” asks food writer Annie Rigg of this recipe – a vegan alternative to pulled pork. “Filled with sticky, soy glazed jackfruit and crisp vegetables, these are real crowd-pleasers.”

Never cooked with jackfruit before? Rigg says: “Canned jackfruit is now readily available in most large supermarkets and, like tofu, it is particularly delicious stir-fried. If you prefer, swap it for cauliflower florets or tofu.”

Jackfruit bao buns recipe

Ingredients:(Makes 8)

For the buns:250g plain flour2 tsp caster sugar1 tsp easy-blend dried yeast½tsp salt½tsp baking powder50ml plant milk75ml water1tbsp rice vinegar2tsp sesame oil, plus extra for brushing2tsp black sesame seeds

For the filling:2 x 400g cans of jackfruit1tbsp sunflower oil2 garlic cloves, finely chopped4cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped6 spring onions, 4 thinly sliced3tbsp soy sauce2tbsp hoisin sauce2tbsp maple syrup1½tbsp rice vinegar1tsp Chinese five-spice1 carrot¼ cucumber½ red pepperLeaves from a small bunch of coriander, to serve

Method:

1. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Heat the milk and water to lukewarm, add the rice vinegar and sesame oil and tip into the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until incorporated and then continue kneading for about four minutes until the dough is silky smooth. Shape the dough into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and leave at room temperature for about one hour or until doubled in size.

2. Cut two circles of baking parchment the same diameter as the inside of the steamer baskets. Fold each paper disc in half, and then in half again to make a triangle, then fold this triangle in half again. Snip small sections out of each folded edge so that when you open the paper it is dotted with small holes. Lay a disc in the bottom of each steamer basket.

3. Weigh the bao dough and divide it into eight even portions. Shape each portion into a neat ball with the seam on the underside. Working one at a time, roll each dough ball into an oval shape – roughly the size of your hand – and 5mm thick. Brush with sesame oil and fold in half. Brush the top with sesame oil and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Place the buns in the steamer to prove, leaving space between each bun and the edge of the steamer. Stack the steamer baskets together, cover with the lid and leave for about one hour at room temperature until the buns have nearly doubled in size.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Drain the jackfruit and squeeze out any excess water. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan or wok, add the jackfruit and fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until golden brown, breaking up the pieces slightly with a wooden spoon.

5. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and four sliced spring onions to the pan and continue frying for another minute. In a small bowl combine the soy and hoisin sauces, maple syrup, rice vinegar and Chinese five-spice with four tablespoons of water. Pour into the pan, mix to combine, reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook for a further three minutes or so until the jackfruit is caramelized and coated in sticky sauce. Remove from the heat while you prepare the remaining filling ingredients.

6. Using a julienne grater, cut the carrot and cucumber into fine strips. Finely slice the red pepper and remaining two spring onions. Cover and chill until ready to assemble the bao buns.

7. Fill a large frying pan or wok with water to a depth of about 5cm and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Place the stacked steamer over the water and cook the bao buns for 10–12 minutes until the surface of the buns is firm, the middles puffy and they have doubled in size.

8. Divide the jackfruit filling and shredded vegetables between the buns, scatter with coriander leaves and serve.

Eat More Vegan by Annie Rigg is published by Pavilion Books, priced £16.99. Photography by Nassima Rothacker. Available now.

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