Terry Hope Romero
BBQ Seitan Buns
These were just as involved as I'd imagined, and the only way I was able to get them done last night, sick and tired, was because I'd made the seitan ahead of time, earlier in the week.
After some quick conversion from ounces to grams, and staring in consternation at the 35g packet of yeast ("Surely she doesn't expect you to use all five sachets? The box says only one is needed to make a Tea Bun..."), I decided to just follow what the recipe said. I ran into a minor snafu early on, when the dough was not 'tacky' and moist as described in the book, but decidedly dry, with quite a bit of flour sitting around it. I added an extra half a cup of water and tablespoon of oil, and it seemed to start behaving better.
After letting it sit for an hour and then 'punching down' the dough (I've always loved that instruction, I have a photo of one time I made bread, where I've left an actual fist mark in the dough. :-D), I rolled and cut it into small balls:
In the meantime, I cut up the pre-prepared seitan and baked it with the marinade while the sauce thickened on the stove. When they were combined, then came the fun part, shaping the bao:
(Quite a bit of the seitan mixture may have made it into my mouth rather than the bao, sooo yummy.)
After fiddling around in different batches whether to steam with the lid on or off, I decided to leave it on, reasoning that slightly wet bao were better than half-cooked ones.
And voila, the finished product! Om nom nom. They did taste a little more... yeasty I'm going to call it, than store bought bao I've tasted, but still yummy.
"Did she really make fresh Bao? Quaint!"
This was a lot more involved than I expected it to be, with a lot of simmering time and cooling time and several different parts all to be assembled, so I may have taken some shortcuts. I used a packet of pre-marinated tofu instead of making more seitan from scratch, and fried it in a pan. The broth was by far the most complex part, with a lot of different spices (some of which I had to substitute, will try again another time when I have all of them to see the difference). After frying the onion and ginger, I added the shitaake mushrooms and other sauces and simmered for 45 minutes, after which you are supposed to strain the veggies out and add soy and vinegar, but I forgot to do this until it was already in the bowl so I added some in there.
The best part was assembling the bowl in layers, first the noodles, then chopped bok choy and carrot, then tofu and the broth poured on top. Definitely not a weeknight meal though, unless you'd made some of the parts ahead of time, but I will definitely be making it again!
Spicy and sour and delicious.