Steamed Vegetable Buns

Beet, carrot and beet, and black (cocoa) and white (plain) steamed buns.

I couldn’t find a better title for this recipe. It makes me think of grated vegetables sticking out of what is basically a baked patty. Very strange- I know how the buns look and taste like, but something in seeing the title makes me picture something completely different. But anyway, it’s not a recipe for quick bread or a baked patty. The buns are like regular yeast buns, only more fun- colorful, flavorful, and full of nutrients. I like to have some for the morning- that’s a great quick breakfast whether they are filled with sweetened black bean paste ( I should post a recipe one day), plain or with a slice of cheese. I think my favorite is a beet bun with black bean paste. Cocoa bun with coconut filling was also great.

Steamed Vegetable Buns

Mix together:

2 cups All-Purpose flour

1 teaspoon dry yeast

3 Tablespoons sugar (or less, depending on the vegetable you’re using)

Add and mix very well to form dough:

1 Tablespoon oil

2/3 cup vegetable puree (from a well cooked vegetable. Canned and baby food can be used)

Knead for few minutes, cover and knead again after 15 minutes. Cover again and let the dough rest until it doubles its size.

Knead the dough lightly, and form 6-8 balls***. Put on a piece of parchment paper and let rise for about 20 minutes.

(***If you’d like to fill the bun, flatten and stretch it a bit so the edges are a bit thinner than the middle. fill with 1-2 Tablespoons and pinch the edges of the dough together over the filling, so the filling is completely covered. Make sure the dough is sealed well. Put the sealed side down on the parchment paper.)

In a steamer, bring water to boil on high, then lower to medium-high for a gentler boil.

Put the buns in the steamer with the parchment paper on the bottom. They will rise some more while steaming, so be sure to leave enough space around them. Cover the steamer and steam for 10 minutes or so.

Remove from the pot and serve warm.

If you wish to freeze buns, I like freezing after letting them cool completely, uncovered. After thawing, you can steam it shortly, or put in the microwave to warm up, but I’m fine with it also at room temperature.

Notes:

*You can use water, soy milk, juice, pureed fruit, etc. instead of the vegetable puree.

* Instead of steaming, you can bake the buns at 350°F until done. However, you will need to add a bit of salt to the dough, and be warned that the colors won’t be the same. The colors are much more vibrant when steamed. And the bun won’t be as fluffy.

* Roll different colored dough together for colorful buns, and experiment with different shapes.

Some Buns I made (all fruit and vegetables were pureed):

*Beets (cooked with a teaspoon of lemon juice), unfilled, and filled with sweetened black bean paste. Gorgeous red color.

*Pumpkin (canned) filled with a bit of chocolate chips. Yummy golden brown color.

*Sweet Potato unfilled, and filled with some peanut butter. Color is lighter and more yellow-orange toned than the pumpkin bun. Peanut butter filling comes out much saltier after baking. It’s also dry a bit.

*Purple cabbage. Oh yes I did. I pureed it without cooking and added a bit of baking soda to make it blue. I baked it, so it browned and the color was not what I wanted. It also tasted and smelled a lot like cabbage, but was great with a slice of cheese. I need to try it again.

*Bananas and coca powder. There was a slight hint of bananas, which was surprising and pleasant.

*Apple puree and spices (lots of cinnamon, a bit of cloves, allspice and coriander).

*Cocoa powder. plain, rolled with white dough (soy milk or water), and with coconut filling. Nice color.

*Coffee. I don’t remember how much I added, I don’t think it was a lot. The color is nice, but I think it was too weak to lend it flavor.

Carrot and beet steamed bun filled with sweetened black bean paste.

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