Have you ever eaten a “pork bun” or a “steamed bun”? They’re one of those fashionable foods, but I’ve never found a vegan option (maybe a mushroom one would be good?)
Anyway, I was perving through a Jamie Oliver recipe book and saw how easy it was to make the actual buns, and decided to veganise it. Instead of using pork, I went for the world’s best alternative – green jackfruit. The jackfruit is almost flavourless, holds together well with cooking (ie doesn’t go mushy) and really copies the texture of pulled pork.
Where I messed up was with NOT TRYING MY SAUCE before using it. I used a black-bean sauce which was salty as socks. Which made the first batch so inedible due to the major salt content. Why make it so salty, what the frickell. So check your sauce, people!
The enjoyable part when making these is that the dough was incredibly easy – almost equal parts self-raising flour and milk. The mixture should be like a very soft and bubbly. Check the bubbles:
Just add more flour or milk to get a gentle dough – not too dry and not too sticky. It’s not an exact science, but you will know by feel when you get it right.
Separate into eight pieces, by rolling into a sausage and then slicing into equal pieces. Take one of those, roll it out flat into a disk.
In the centre, fill the rolled out disk with 1-2 tablespoons of filling and then take the edges to pinch up and seal into a ball. Check out a detailed version here, in this Jamie Oliver video – http://www.jamieoliver.com/videos/perfect-pork-dim-sum-jamie-s-money-saving-meals/ although there’s a trigger warning for PORK. Just pretend it’s Jackfruit…
Serve these bunnies with a sauce, such as soy, chilli sauce or Vietnamese dipping sauce.
Now just quickly: before your start the recipe, you might be thinking how do I know when they are cooked? And that’s a good question, because as they steamed I was asking myself the same thing. The buns will be a soft and uncooked dough when they nestle into their tray. As the pot steams below and the lid is on, aim for about ten minutes. Of course, yours could be bigger or smaller, and so likely to need a different indicator. After ten minutes, remove the lid and gently touch the top. It should be sticky but firm. It should feel cooked, and not be raw. Also, the colour should be an almost yellow tinge…instead of the dead-body-white-grey of the uncooked. I hope that helps! The initial stickiness will disappear once they are off the steamer, and so make use of this by immediately sprinkling with the toasted seeds.
- 1 can jackfruit, drained
- ¼ cup sauce of choice – black bean, hoisin, oyster, stirfry mix
- 1 red chilli, diced finely and de-seeded
- 2-4 spring onions, diced finely
- ¼ bunch coriander
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 1 ½ - 2 cups soy milk
- 2 TB sesame seeds, toasted
- Steamer trays
- Paper cupcake tins
- Take the drained jack and, on a chopping board, chop into chunks. In a frying pan, heat the jack fruit, using a spatula to further break up the fruit. Add in your sauce and stir to coat – you want to cook out the liquid. Remove from the heat, and stir in the chilli, coriander and spring onions.
- Prepare your steamers – set the water to boil in a pot and place the cupcake tins into the steamer trays, ready for the buns.
- While that cools, combine the milk and flour in a bowl. Knead with your hands until the mix becomes a soft dough. Check for texture – not too sticky and not too dry.
- Once the dough is the correct texture, roll into a sausage. Slice into eight segments.
- Each segment needs to be rolled into a disk shape, approximately ½ centimetre thick (not too thin or it will tear).
- Place 1-2 tablespoons of the jackfruit mix into the centre, and take the edges and bunch them together. Once sealed, place SEAM DOWN into the cupcake tins.
- Repeat this until the steamers are full.
- Place the steamers lid on, onto the pot of water and cook for ten minutes, or until ready. (see above post for further info)!
- When cooked, sprinkle with toasted seeds and serve with dipping sauce of choice.