Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chinese Tempeh Buns

These are a vegan take on pork buns. I really don't associate yeast dough with Chinese cooking, and given my love of all things leavened, I thought it would be fun to try. If you aren't a big fan of tempeh, some shaved seitan. crumbled tofu, or pulsed chickpeas would work as well (I think--I did not try all these variations, but I don't see why they would not work).

- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup warm plain soy milk
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt

- 12 dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 tbsp each canola and sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 pkg of tempeh, grated
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp sherry
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice
- splash of water
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- soy milk, for brushing

1. Make the dough: Whisk sugar into warm soy milk and water, then whisk in yeast to dissolve. Set aside to proof. Add in enough flour to make a slightly tacky dough. Knead for 3-5 mins, until smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
2. While dough is rising, make the filling. Soak mushrooms in hot water until soft. Thinly slice.
3. Heat oils in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute mushrooms, garlic, and ginger for 3 mins. Increase heat to med-hi, then add grated tempeh and fry 5 mins. Add orange juice and sherry and stir well. Add ketchup, sauces, and five spice and stir well, adding a splash of water if needed. Stir in green onion and remove from heat.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Remove dough from bowl and roll into a log. Divide into 12 sections. Keep covered with a damp towel. Take one section and roll into a 4-5 inch circle (with a rolling pin) on a lightly floured surface. Place 1/12 of the filling in the centre, then gather the edges over the filling, pinching the seams together and giving them a twist. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover with damp towel and let rise for 30 mins.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each bun with soy milk and bake for 18-10 mins, or until golden brown.