Inspiring vegetarian recipes
Try our vibrant veggie dishes, from meat-free lasagne to vegetable curry and vegetarian chilli
First, make the jelly. Mix together the stock and agar flakes in a pan and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes. Bring to the boil over a medium heat without stirring, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir well until the agar has dissolved. Pour into a bowl, cool and chill for 2 hours until set.
Combine the garlic, ginger, coriander, a third of the spring onions, the cabbage leaves, pork, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar, ¼ tsp of salt and the sesame oil in a large bowl, massaging the mixture together with your hands to coat the mince. Beat the mixture by scooping it up with a cupped hand and throwing it back into the bowl to tenderise the meat and knock out any air. Chill until you’re ready to make the bao.
Once the jelly has set, roughly dice it into small pieces. Add them to the filling and stir gently with a wooden spoon to combine. Return the filling to the fridge so the jelly doesn’t melt before you start to fold the bao.
To make the dough, tip the flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder and ½ tsp of salt into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Mix together 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and 250-300ml of water (this will depend on the humidity of the room – if the air is very dry you may need the maximum amount) in a jug, then slowly pour this into the mixer while kneading on a low speed for 2 minutes or until all the liquid is combined with the flour. Turn up the speed to high for a further 2 minutes until the dough has a smooth yet tacky feel.
Shape the dough into a rough ball and coat lightly with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour-1 hour 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Tip the dough onto a well-floured worksurface and roll out to a 3-4 mm thickness. Use a 6cm biscuit cutter or glass, to stamp out as many circles from the dough as you can.
Spoon 1½-2 tsp of the filling into the centre of each dough circle. Working with one circle at a time, lift up the edges of the dough and squeeze together as if forming a pouch. Holding the pastry in one hand, twist the top tightly and continuously, ensuring the filling does not leak out, until the pastry is sealed and you have a spiral effect at the top with a well-rounded dumpling below.
Once sealed, make sure each bao is an even ball shape by lightly rolling and adjusting it, then set aside on a well-floured baking tray and cover with a slightly damp tea towel to keep them from drying out. Continue to roll shape the baos until all the filling and dough has been used. Allow the baos to rest for a further 30 minutes in a warm place.
Heat 4-5 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat (ideally you want enough oil to brown the base and a little bit of the sides of each bao). Carefully put the baos in the hot oil, leaving ½cm between each to allow enough space for rising – you will need to do this in batches. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Pour 4-5 tbsp of water over the top and quickly cover with a lid for 5-6 minutes or until the bases are golden brown and the baos have risen well – this method will simultaneously steam and fry the sheng jian bao.
Mix together all of the ingredients for the chilli oil, then drizzle over the sheng jian bao before serving.