Vegan Hoisin Mushroom Gua Baos - homemade fluffy steamed buns filled with mushrooms cooked in hoisin sauce with some pickled carrots and cucumber plus some homemade vegan kimchi! Finished off with some chopped spring onion and peanuts.
I made the buns from scratch and they're actually really simple. You'll just of course need time to let them rise and proof before steaming them!
Watch how to make the steamed buns:
I grew up eating gua baos that were usually filled with braised pork belly and pickled mustard greens with some peanuts and sugar. I also love a gua bao I get from a local vegetarian restaurant that makes it with crispy tofu skin with pickled mustard greens, chili, and some sugary chopped peanuts.
My version is filled with deliciously savoury and sweet mushrooms that I cooked down in some hoisin sauce and maple syrup. The mushrooms are well complemented by the acidity of the pickled carrots and cucumber while the kimchi adds that nice crunch and spice too.
These were so fun to put together, and also kind of reminded me of tacos when I ate them.
You can find the full recipe below!
Are you looking for more delicious, vegan recipes? Check out my latest Vegan Kitchen eBook, that has over 95 recipes (and a whole section for Asian recipes!) that are packed with flavour and made with simple and easily accessible ingredients! Also, two trees (instead of 1!) will be planted for every download of my eBook through non-profit organisation One Tree Planted.🌲
Hoisin Mushroom Gua Baos
Makes 12 gua baos
Homemade fluffy steamed buns filled with mushrooms cooked in hoisin sauce with some pickled carrots and cucumber plus some kimchi!
Buns Dry Ingredients 2 cups + 1 tbsp (275g) all-purpose flour 1 tbsp corn starch 1/4 tsp salt Yeast Mixture 3/4 cup warm soy milk 3 tsp organic cane sugar 1 tsp instant dry yeast 1 tbsp neutral oil, plus more for brushing
Pickled Carrots and Cucumber 1/3 cup thinly sliced carrot 1/3 cup thinly sliced cucumber 3 tbsp rice vinegar 1 tbsp organic cane sugar, or adjust according to desired sweetness 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds Pinch of salt
Hoisin Mushrooms 450g fresh mushrooms of choice (I used a mix of king oyster and shiitake) 1 tsp minced garlic Oil for cooking 2 tbsp hoisin sauce 4 tbsp maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener or sugar (adjust according to desired sweetness) 1/4 tsp chinese five spice powder or pepper
Recipe video here:
STEPS Pickled Carrots and Cucumber
Discard the seeds and pit of the cucumber. Peel the carrot. Very thinly slice the cucumber and carrots.
In a bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Mix well until the sugar dissolves. Adjust seasoning based on desired sweetness and sourness.
Add in the cucumber and carrots. Mix well and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes. You can prepare this the day before and refrigerate it until ready to use. This way it’s also more flavourful!
Slice the mushrooms into strips or batons.
Heat a non-stick pan. Heat some oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in the garlic. Sauté until lightly brown and then add in the mushrooms. Pour in the hoisin sauce and maple syrup or other sweetener. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through and release some water. Sprinkle chinese five spice or pepper and mix well. Turn off heat and set aside.
Preparing the Dough
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Place the soy milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at high for 25-30 seconds (note that this can vary depending on your microwave) until the milk is around 42C/110F. It should be warm to the touch but will not burn you. If it’s too hot, leave to cool for a few minutes.
Mix in the sugar and yeast into the warm milk. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes until it foams up. When it’s foamy, mix in the oil.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. While mixing, pour in the yeast and milk mixture.
Keep mixing until a dough is formed. Knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth. You can opt to knead it in the bowl if your bowl is large enough to minimise the mess, or you can place it on a lightly floured surface.
Scrape off the flour on the sides of the bowl if needed. I like to use my hands to knead everything together. Keep kneading until the dough is stretchy and no longer sticks to your hands. The gluten bonds will strengthen as the dough is needed.
Shape the dough into a ball, then place it back in the bowl. Cover it with a damp towel and let it rest for at least 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Forming the Buns
Once the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Punch your thumb into the center to create a hole. Slowly pinch and form the sides to create a larger hole before slowly pulling apart the sides to create a large ring (see video).
Slice the ring of dough into 12 pieces, each around 40 grams.
Place the pieces in a bowl and cover with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you work on each piece.
Only 4 pieces fit in my bamboo steamer so I only prepare 4 pieces at a time.
Roll a piece of dough into a ball and then lightly flatten on a floured surface. With a rolling pin or small dumpling rolling pin (which I used), roll the dough until you have an oval that’s around 3 by 4 to 4.5”.
Brush the dough with some oil then fold into half. Transfer on a sheet of parchment paper and into the bamboo basket. Cover the dough and leave to proof for another 15-20 minutes.
Repeat this step for the rest of the dough and work in batches as needed, depending on how many can fit your steamer.
Cooking the Buns
Heat a large pan or wok, enough to fit the bamboo steamer. Add enough water that it touches the bottom edge of the steamer. Make sure the water doesn’t reach the parchment paper and buns!
Leave the water to boil. Once it boils, place the bamboo basket and leave the buns to steam for 8-10 minutes. Afterwards, do not open the steamer. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes before taking the cooked buns out of the steamer. Cover the cooked buns with a damp towel so it doesn’t quickly cool and dry out.
Shape more buns and then leave to proof in the bamboo basket. Steam the next batch. Repeat this for the rest.
Storing the Buns
Place the buns in a freezer-safe container. Line each one with the used parchment paper to avoid them from sticking.
You can freeze the buns and reheat them by steaming until fluffy.
Assembling the Gua Bao
Carefully open a bun. Add in the pickled veggies, mushrooms, and kimchi (if using). Finish off with some chopped green onions and peanuts if desired. Enjoy!