Vegetable bao

For a tasty and authentic Chinese-style snack, Ching He-Huang packs a whole host of mouth-watering ingredients into little steamed dumplings
By Ching-He Huang
Vegetable bao
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 3 hrs rising time for dough
  • Effort: medium


For the dough

  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 125 ml warm water
  • ¾ tsp dried yeast
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp oil

For the filling

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • small handful gailan leaves (Chinese kale), or pak choi
  • 2 chinese dried mushrooms, soaked in waterfor 10 minutes, drained and chopped
  • 20 g boneless chicken breasts
  • handfuls dried wood ear mushrooms, soaked and chopped
  • handfuls bamboo shoots
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • pinches ground white pepper
  • dashes of sesame oil
  • handfuls mung bean noodles


1. To make the dough dissolve the sugar and water together and add the yeast. Leave for 8-10 minutes, until frothy.

2. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the yeast mixture and stir in the oil.

3. Bring the mixture together and knead for about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

4. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for 3 hours.

5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok and stir fry all the ingredients for the filling together for about 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Remove from the heat.

6. Knead the risen dough until smooth and spread it out slightly. Add the baking powder to the centre, pinch the dough together, and knead again.

7. Roll out into a sausage shape and divide into 6.

8. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and flatten out. Place a tablespoon of the filling into the centre of each piece of dough and gather up the sides.

9. Transfer the bao to a steamer and steam for about 10-15 minutes, until very hot and opaque and a teaspoon inserted into the centre comes out clean and not doughy. Serve.

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