Tandoori Jackfruit Bao (Pao) | Vegan/Vegetarian Recipe

Tandoori Jackfruit Bao (Pao) | Vegan/Vegetarian Recipe


Stuffed bao or what is also known as pao in
Mauritius, used to be one of my favourite after-school snacks during my late high-school
years. Baos are soft fluffy Chinese buns that are often stuffed with either sweet or savoury
fillings. The traditional Mauritian savoury pao calls
for various fillings that are predominantly flavoured with soy sauce.
For a little fusion twist on the traditional version, in today’s recipe, I am stuffing
them with tandoori spiced jackfruit which makes a pretty unique flavourful filling. Young green jackfruit is what I am using in
this recipe. I can get hold of canned jackfruit more easily. But you may use fresh or frozen
green jackfruit if you can find it where you live. If you are using canned jackfruit, make
sure you get the green or young jackfruit in brine and not ripe jackfruit in syrup.
This isn’t going to be appropriate for this recipe. Drain all the brine and rinse the jackfruit
pieces a few times in fresh water. As usual you’ll find the printable recipe
on our website. Check the description for the link. Gently squeeze the jackfruit to remove some
of their water content. This will allow them to absorb spices and flavours better. Fresh white mushrooms will add some nice flavour
and texture. You may use any other types of mushrooms or just leave them out if you don’t
like them. Finely chop or mince them. Slit a couple of green chillies along the
length, but don’t cut all the way through, and remove the stems. This will just add a
subtle flavour but not too much heat. If you do like it very spicy, then you can just chop
them up. I love the flavour of fresh lime juice in
this recipe but you may also use lemon juice. Some fresh herbs like coriander or cilantro
will balance out the spices and add a refreshing cooling note to the overall dish. If you don’t
like cilantro, you may also use a little fresh mint combined with parsley or basil. Heat about half tablespoon of coconut or vegetable
oil in a skillet on medium high temperature. Add minced ginger and garlic paste. We have a simple video tutorial on how to
make your own minced ginger or garlic. Check the description for the link. If you want to use onions in this recipe,
you may add a small chopped or sliced onion at this stage together with the minced ginger
paste. Toss and saute for about 2 minutes.
Then add the jackfruit. Saute for about 10 minutes and flip them a few times until they
are lightly browned or slightly charred on both sides. Take two forks and pull the jackfruit apart
into strips. Add the green chillies and saute for about
a minute. Next add the mushrooms. Clear a small section of the pan and add the
tandoori masala. Let it roast for a few seconds then stir the masala with the jackfruit in
the pan. You can use store-bought or homemade tandoori
spice mix I make my own blend and I’ve shared a video
previously on how you can easily do this at home. Check the description for the link to
the video tutorial. Add the lime or lemon juice followed by the
coconut milk. Add about 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or some
sugar to balance out the acidity. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce and flavours have been absorbed.
Lastly add the chopped coriander leaves and turn off the heat.
On its own, this tandoori jackfruit is mouthwatering and delicious. While the filling is cooling, let’s make the
dough for the buns. I am using whole spelt flour which creates
a light fluffy texture for the bao. You may also use all-purpose or plain flour or whole
wheat flour. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl.
Next add the salt and instant yeast. Instant or quick or fast-action yeast cuts
the rising time in half because we only need to let the dough rise once instead of twice.
If you can’t find instant yeast though, you may use traditional yeast. In this case, you
may want to start making the dough first then let it rise for the first time while you make
the filling. Whisk all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre, add the warm water
and maple syrup or sugar. Draw the flour to the centre and start mixing
it into a dough. Then, go in with your hand and start forming
the dough. Depending on what type of flour you are using,
you may need to adjust the water. We are aiming for a somewhat firm dough as it will give
a better round plump structure to the bun. If you make the dough a little softer, you
may get flatter buns that won’t hold well while steaming. So, aim for a slightly firmer
smooth dough without it being dry. Once the dough is formed, knead it on the
work surface for about 8 – 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a nice round ball.
At this stage, if you have used traditional yeast, let the dough rise in a warm place
in a bowl covered with a damp cloth. If you have used instant yeast, just proceed
with making the buns. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.
Take each piece and roll into a small ball. Dip each ball in a little flour and dust off
the excess. Flatten and roll out the ball of dough. Thin
the edges out and leave the centre a little thicker. This will ensure that you get an
even thickness of bread all around the filling. You may also just flatten and stretch the
dough out with your fingers instead of using a rolling pin, whichever is easier for you. Lift the dough and cup it into one hand. Place
some filling in the centre. The bun will rise to twice or three times
its size, so you can be quite generous with the filling here to get a good ratio of bread
to filling. Bring the edge toward the centre to enclose
the filling. Pinch to seal well and lightly shape the dough
again into a smooth ball. It is probably more common to have baos with the knot on top but
I like to turn the closure down and have a smooth top. You can of course have the knot
on top if prefer it that way. Place each filled ball of dough on a flattened
cupcake liner or a piece of parchment paper cut to size.
Cover and leave the buns in a warm place to rise. If you have a multi-tier steamer, you
may place them to rise directly on the racks. Once the buns have risen, bring some water
to a boil in a pot or steamer. Place the steamer rack with the buns into the pot. Cover and
let steam on medium high temperature for 15 minutes. Repeat the process for the rest of the batch.
Depending on how many buns you can fit on the rack, you may need to steam in 2 – 3 batches.
Add more water as required. These baos are really tender and fluffy and
the tandoori jackfruit filling makes them really tasty. You can enjoy them warm or cold
and they can easily be carried around for packed lunches or when travelling. They also
freeze really well. Once steamed and cooled, you can freeze them for later use. Just steam
them again for about 10 minutes to reheat. You can find the printable recipe on our website.
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