300 g all purpose flour
2 tsp instant active yeast
20 ml vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
FILLING : 250g seitan – 1 small spring onions, sliced – 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped – 2 tsp soy sauce – 1 tbsp rice vinegar – 1 tsp maple syrup – 2 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying – 1 heaped tsp Chinese five spice
OTHER CONDIMENTS :
sliced fresh chilli or chilli sauce – ½ English cucumber, cut – red cabbage, shredded finely – spring onion, sliced finely
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt. Add about 120 ml / ½ cup of warm water and 1½ tbsp of oil. Once combined roughly with a wooden spoon, start combining the dough with your hands. It will need a bit more water but it is very important to add the water in gradually, tablespoon by tablespoon. In my experience it takes another 2-3 tablespoons of water to achieve a dough that is not too dry or not too sticky. Knead it for 10 minutes with your hands until elastic and smooth. Form the dough into a ball and rub a small amount of oil on the dough’s surface to prevent drying. Place in a clean bowl covered with a kitchen towel and place it somewhere warm (but not too warm, sticking it too close to a fireplace is a bad idea, for example) for 1-2 hrs or until it doubles in size.
Cut two circles (if you have a two tier bamboo steamer) of baking paper to line the steamer with. Make a lot of small holes in the circles so that the steam can get through. You can use a paper puncher for this or fold each circle in half 3 times and cut small circles out along the folded edges with a pair of scissors. Prepare also eight 5 cm / 2″ squares of baking paper and insert into the buns to prevent the two halves from sticking to each other (you could also use oil instead).
After the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and press the air our with your fingertips. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and form small balls. Place the balls on a lightly floured surface, cover with a kitchen towel and leave for another 30 min.
Using a rolling pin, roll the balls out into ½ cm / ¼” thick oval shapes. Fold each shape in half and insert a square of baking paper between the two halves. Alternatively you could also oil the buns before folding in half.
Line your bamboo steamer with paper circles you’ve made earlier and place folded up buns inside for another 30 min of proving.
Half fill a pot with water and place the steamer with the buns on top. Whack the heat to medium-high (I used setting 4 out of 6) and let the water come to a simmer – don’t be tempted to peak inside or you will ruin the buns. Once you can hear the water simmering vigorously, put the timer on to 10 mins. After the time is up, take the pot and steamer off the heat and rest the buns for another 5 minutes. This will spare the buns temperature shock and will prevent them from shrinking. After 5 minutes, lift the lid off and remove the buns gently. Cook the remaining four like you did the first four.
Cut the seitan. Fry spring onions until softened. Add chopped garlic and ginger and fry gently until soft and fragrant. Mix in Chinese five spice and fry gently for one minute.
Now add the remaining sauce ingredients: tamari / soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Mix them around well, allow sugar to melt. Finally add in seitan and mix well to allow it to warm up and soak up the maximum amount of sauce.
Fill each bun with seitan, fresh veggies, herbs, and chili mayo (optional).